Skip to main content

Full text of "Memoirs of a French village : a chronicle of old Prairie du Rocher, 1722-1972"

See other formats


UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 

LIBRARY 

AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN 

ILL. HIST SURVEY 







ff, M^r 



1722~Prairie Du Rocher's 250th Year— 1972 



i^iaa^il^^R^B i:^;MgiEiii^^^^ 



UNIVERSITY OF 

n LINOIS LIBRARY 

AT UrCANA-CHAMPAlGN 

ILL HIST. SURVEY 




POWDCft MAOAZINC FOOT DC CHAOTRKS 



PHONE (618) 284-3440 — PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILL. 



Member F.D.I.C. 



JIFFY PRINTERS, CHESTER, ILLINOIS 



f , o / INTRODUCTION 

It could be said that a land without ruins is a land without memories. It fol- 
lows that a land without memories is a land without a history. A people and place 
that tread light on the souls of the dead and vanished days is said to be timeless. 

The history of Prairie du Rocher is an intriguing one. It is hoped that this at- 
tempt will stimulate further interest, and spark a comprehensive review of this 
timeless town. 

As Edited and Recorded by 
THEODORE P. FADLER 






CONTENTS 



I. The dawn of civilzation (primitive) 

II. Early migration: Fort Chartres 

III. The early church and effects 

IV. Social life of Early Settlers 

V. Indians and Climate 

VI. Horses and cattle introduced 
Vn. Early Crops and flowers 

VIII. Early French Government 

IX. Jean St. Theresa Langlois 

X. Early legal transactions 

XI. Census 

XII. Education 

XIII. Commons 

XIV. Of general interest 

XV. Prairie du Rocher today 

XVI. Comment 




THE DAWN OF CIVILIZATION 

The violent days were over in the great American Bottom. The ocean bid farewell to 
the Mississippi region. When man came, he saw what had happened. He marvelled. Here 
was a fertile valley between walls of carved limestone, marble, and sandstone. 

Primitive man was compelled by environmental factors in determining a habitat. The 
first man (people) came to Prairie du Rocher because of the rock bluffs. The bluffs offered 
man hope. By this time the great river no longer predominated the whole valley; however, 
man could never be sure of it's channel. Since floods were common, he hesitated to dwell 
far from the high ground lest he fall prey to the unpredictable river. 

Small villages grew up in the shadow of stone. It was cold; bitterly cold. An ingenious 
man, some (10,000) years ago built a fire beside the rock bluff. Once the huge mass of rock 
was heated, it reflected warmth to the huddled villages. The fire became a necessity for 
survival. By this measure, man survived in the Ice Age. 

Ashes from these fires can be excavated today. 





Reconstruction of the Modoc Rock Shelter and surrounding area about 4000 B.C. 



-I- 




Archaic Family Group living in the Modoc Rock Shelter about 4000 B.C. 

'7' 




MODOC 

ROCK SMELTER 



Location of the Modoc Rock Shelter 



-2- 




The location of the Modoc Rock Shelter showing its proximity to Barbeau Creek, the river 
bottoms, the bluff and upland areas. . 

* • 

The first inhabitants of new Prairie du Rocher were p rimitive. dark-sk_in ned. mild, un» 
daunted, and adverse to war. They left neither written literature nor imperishable monu» 
ments. 

It maybe interesting to note that the Prairie du Rocher area was inhabitated while what 
we now know as Chicago was covered by a Glacier. 




Idealized cross-section of the Modoc Rock Shelter area showing the relationship of the 
physical strata at the site. 

-3- 




-4- 




|,«.%^J| Dlsluri)«il ATMS 

_ „ ,, P>';;|Animal Burrow 

"" r ^ '? "T" i^JiA f sAjIi Beds md 

^ \^-^^y *S=='Burn«d Areas 

"^■^S^S^J"^'-^ (TO^Mollled and 
.^^^s^^-^ Vj-^DlscoloreJ Area 



Section of southwest profile of the 1956 excavation showing the physical strata. 



Early Migration: Fort de Chartres 

The history of Prairie du Rocher is richly mingled with the early history of Fort de 
Chartres and the Catholic Church. To gain an insight to pre-settlement days one must 
turn back the calendar to the year 1682, when La Salle beached an expedition at the mouth 
of the Mississippi for King Louis XIV of France. La Salle secured the fleur de lis, and 
claimed the territory on the Illinois and Mississippi sides of the river for France. Later, 
La Salle interested the king in building a series of forts linking the French colonial terri- 
tories in Canada and Louisiana. 



-5- 



iMa»>-'Srfwtt» 






-^?^. 




Aerial view of Fort de Chartres State Park. Randolph County, Illinois. 




La Salle at the Mouth of the Mississippi. 



-6- 




Louis XIV, King of France 



/ 



Originally, the Illinois Country was under the jurisdiction of the Canadian province of 
Quebec, but in 1717 it was transferred as a' district to the province of Louisiana. The 
first commandant of the Illinois Territory was Pierre Duque Boisbriant who arrived in 
December of 1718 with orders to govern the country and erect in the Mississippi a bastion 
to forestall possible aggressions of the English and Spanish as well as to protect the 
settlers from hostile Indians, With alacrity he started to build the most pretentious in the 
chain of forts along the Mississippi, Fort Due de Chartres-named in honor of the regent of 
France. This palisaded log fortification, completed in 1720 and located on the river about 
sixteen miles northwest of Kaskaskia, served as the headquarters of the civil, the mili- 
tary and the marine government of the Illinois Territory. 

" V 

Shortly after the \ompletion of the fort, a village-Nouvelle Chartres- -grew nearby. 
Settlers from Canada and France, confident of protection, arrived and clustered near the 
fort. Th ev wondered whether the nat i ve Indians c ould be trusted. While the local Metcha- 
gamia tribe in the vicinity ot' the lort proved to be anything but warlike, in 1729, the Nat- 
chez Indians, provoked by the tyranny and greed of the French commandant, Chobart-- 
incited a conspiracy against the French. Massacres were frequent. In 1736 the garrison of 
Fort Chartres marched against the Chickasaw Indians, who threatened to cut Communi- 
cations between the Illinois Country and the city of New Orleans. 

The focal point of this little French community of Nouvelle Chartres was the parish 
church of St. Anne du Fort de Chartres. 

Fort Chartres was the creation of the Company of the West, or Mississippi company, 
which was organized by the celebrated John Law, in August, 1717, immediately after the 
surrender by the Sieur Antoine Crozat of his patent and privileges in Louisiana to the 



-7- 



French crown. This commercial company and its early successor, the Royal India Company, 
held away in the province of Louisiana, of which Illinois formed a part for fourteen years. 




bO 
Hi 

B 



1 
o 

o. 



o 



^^ ^tLliP^ 



On the 9th of February, 1718, three ships of the Wootom Oo w p any - the Dauphin, Viri- 
lante, and Neptune - arrived at Dauphin island with officers and men to take possession of 
Louisiana. On one of these vessels, or on the frigate La Duchesse de Noailles, which 
arrived at Ship island on the 6th of March following, came Pierre Duque de Boisbriant, a 
French Canadian, who had been commissioned first king's lieutenant for the province of 
Louisiana, and who was the bearer of a commission appointing his cousin, LeMoyne de 
Bienville, governor and commandant general of the province, in place of M. L'Epignoy 
removal. 

HENRY O'HARA 

Henry O'Hara and his family, consisting of his wife, Margaret Brown O'Hara, and ten 
children, left Fredrick County, Maryland, in the latter part of 1811 and moved to Nelson 
County, Kentucky. His children, born in order here named, were: Mary, Amellia, Gather' 
ine, James, Thomas, Samuel, Henry, Sarah, John, and Charles. The family lived on a farm' 
in Kentucky for six years, and in the fall of 1817 set out by wagons for the State Illinois. 
Arriving in Illinois, they lived duriijg the winter of 1817 in the Mississippi bottom, south 
of Cahokia, and in the spring of 1818 moved on a farm four miles below Prairie du Rocher, 
along the bluff, where they resided until 1819, then moved six miles north to claim No. 
1284, survey No. 611, and from that time the place was known as the O'Hara Settlement. 
When Henry O'Hara left Kentucky he bought, in Beardstown, the works of their clock, and 
when he was established in his home, O'Hara Settlement, he had the case built at Kas- 
kaskia and the clock works placed in it. 

After the death of Henry O'Hara, Sr., which occurred in June, 1826, the clock became 
the property of his eldest son, James O'Hara. James O'Hara continued to reside on the 
homestead until his death, which occurred April 8, 1884, he being 84 years and 5 months 
old. 

By will of James O'Hara, his youngest son Charles became the owner of the clock. 
This clock has, during all the years from the time it was first put in operation up to the 
present time, been a true and reliable timekeeper and has not been remodeled or rebuilt. 

By will of Charles O'Hara, his eldest son Henry became the owner of the clock. 




Residence of Henry T. O'Hara, Ruma 
-9- 





Mr. Henry T. O'Hara Mrs. Henry T. O'Hara 

in the early part of October, 1718, Lieutenant Boiabriant, with several officers and a 
considerable detachment of troops, departed by ^j^te^j^boats) from Biloxi, through lakes 
Pontchartrain and Maureeas and up the Mississippi to regulate affairs in the Illinois coun- 
ty and to establish a permanent military post for the better protection of the French in- 
habitants in their northern district of the province. Arriving at Kaskaskia late in December ^ 
of that year he established his temporary headquarters, which was the first jn ilitary_occu- I 

is. J » 

Having selected what was considered a convenient site for his post, some 18 miles 
above and to the northwest of Kaskaskia, de Boisbriant thither a large force of mechanics 
and laborers to work in the forest. «— i-^^^ 



pation of the village. This however, was continued for only about 18 months. 



In the spring of 1720 they had built and practically completed the fort, which was hence 
forward the headquarters of the company and commandants and the center of both civil and 
and military authority in Illinois. - • yr< 

The fort stood on the alluvial bottom about Ya of a mile from the Mississippi River and 
near to a n older fort that had been erected b j v the adventures under C rozat. Midway between 
it and the bluffs on the east extend a bayou of lake which was supposed to add to the 
strategic strength of the place. It was named Fort de Chartres presumably in complyment 
to the Regent of France, from the title of his son, the Due de Chartres. 

The fort was built of wood and was a very considerable size, but whether it was fur- 
nished with bastions or not is uncertain. It is described as a stockade fort, fortified with 
earth between the rows of palisades. Within the enclosure were erected the commandants 
house, the barracks, the large storehouse for the company, etc., the same being construc- 
ted of hewed timbers and ship-sawed planks. 

Although not a strong fortification, except as against Indian attacks, it was made to 
answer for a full generation the needs of its builders and its commandants who success- 



-10- 



fully ruled here. It formed, moreover, an important link in the lengthened chain of French 
post stretching from eastern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The idea of this long line of 
military and trading posts appears to have originated in the fertile brain of that explorer, 
Robert Cavelier' Sieur de la Salle. Poor maintenance and frequent flooding caused this 
fort to be abandoned. In 1732, a second wooden fort was built about one-half mile north of 
Fort No. 3. By 1747, the second fort was virtually useless because of rotting timbers. 
The impending signs of war with England pointed out the need for something more sub- 
stantial. Therefore, the third fort, of stone, was started in 1753. 




Last Relic of Fort Chartres. The Powder Magazine 

France lost the French and Indian War in 1763. But because of the trouble witn the 
Ottawa Chief Pontiac, the British renamed Chartres - Fort Cavendish. After a severe 
flood in 1772, Fort Cavendish/Chartres was abandoned forever. 



CURRENT PROGRAMMING AT FORT DE CHARTRES 

Since the Interpretive Program was started at Fort de Chartres a little over two years 
ago, many changes have occurred at the park. The Visitor Center/Museum has been re- 
vamped and plans have now been submitted for its expansion into the present Park Ran- 
ger's residence when the Ranger has been relocated in a nearby house. The expanded 
Center will have more informative and participatory exhibits, through which visitors can 
utilize all their senses, not just sight and touch. 

Plans have also been drawn up for the refurnishing of the Guard's House with replica 
period pieces based on available data of the original fort. Completion should take about 
two years. The Priest's Lodge is already refurnished. Restoring and furnishing buildings 

-11- 



will continue for many years. 

This summer, in addition to the Third Annual Rendezvous to be held June 17 and 18, 
archaeological work will be continued. Last year an Indian village north of the stone fort 
was excavated, and there was some preliminary exploration of the site of the first wooden 
fort. This year a six weeks' archaeological dig will be conducted in the Powder Magazine 
and surrounding bastion. Archaeologists will be searching for remains of wall supports in 
the bastion to aid in the proposed restoration of the wall, evidence of a stone floor buried 
under the present wood floor in the Magazine, the location of a possible well site in front 
of the Magazine, and the location of one of the fort's latrines. Also, it is hoped that the 
artifacts found in the excavation will shed additional light on the culture of the 18th cen- 
tury French and British soldiers once stationed here. 

Our French herb garden has been expanded this year to include twenty-one varieties of 
herbs in use by the 18th century French in this area. An herb booklet explaining the varied 
uses of these herbs will be available to the public at the Visitor Center. 

At present, the Visitor Center hours are 9;30 - 5:00 Wednesday through Sunday. When 
additional interpretive staff are hired, the Center will be open seven days a week. Guided 
tours are available Wednesday through Friday, by pre-arrangement only, for groups of fifty 
and under. To arrange for a guided tour, call 28^-7230 Wednesday through Sunday. On Sat- 
urday and Sunday, tours are regularly scheduled for the public at 11:30 and 2:00. Those 
wishing to take a self-guided tour may obtain a tour booklet in the Visitor Center when- 
ever it is open. 

CHARLES O'HARA 

Charles O'Hara was born October 24, 1849. He lived here all his life, with the excep- 
tion of five years, when he lived in St. Louis. He was one of the best known and highly 
respected men of Randol {h County. His death occurred January 23, 1915. 

He was married to Miss Ellen Carter of Hecker. 111., on Octooer 7, 1878. To this union 
were born eight children, two dying while quite young. The six surviving children are 
three sons and three daughters, as follows: Henry T., Lucy, James P., Stella J., William 
L. and Isabell O'Hara. He also leaves his two brothers and two sisters. 

His wife died January 9, 1908, and since then he made his home on the home place 
and in St. Louis. 





Charles O'Hara Mrs. Charles O'Hara 

-12- 



JAMES R. O'HARA 

James R. O'Hara, the retired merchant, was born July 29, 1841, on the old homestead, 
near Ruma, 111. After receiving his education in the parochial and public schools he at- 
tended the Christian Brothers College in St. Louis. After leaving school he worked on 
the farm for his father until 1867, when he bought a farm in Monroe County. In 1872 he 
sold his farm and went to Ruma and erected the store property; one year later he entered 
the general merchandise business. Later he again bought a farm of 120 acres near Ruma. 
In 1916heretiredfrom the merchandise business, and rented his farm. He has learned the 
valuable lesson in life -- to be contented. 

His father, James O'Hara, was born in Maryland and came to Ruma in 1818, just a lit- 
tle prior to admitting Illinois into the union. He was one of the pioneers of Southern Illi- 
nois. He died in 1884. 

James R. O'Hara married, November 27, 1874, Miss Margaret Kaveny, and the present 
family numbers four children - one son, Chas. A. O'Hara; three daughters, Mary Eliza- 
beth, Kathrine E. and Rose M. O'Hara. 

Mr. O'Hara is a Democrat, and served the community as postmaster for twelve years 
and as notary public for eight years. 

Mrs. O'Hara (nee Kaveny) was born February 11, 1858, in St. Louis, Mo. Her parents 
moved to Litchfield, 111. At the age of 17 years she came to Ruma, 111., to teach the first 
parochial school, and taught here from 1875 to 1877, when she was married. 





James O'Hara 



Mrs. James O'Hara James R. O'Hara Mrs. James R. O'Hara 



F. M. BRICKEY AND FAMILY 

F. M. Brickey, the well known capitalist, was born November 10, 1860, in Prairie du 
Rocber, 111. He attended the public schools, then went to St. Louis in 1873 and entered the 
St. Louis University, until 1878, and later was a student in the Jesuit College. He began 
businesiS.in 1881. After leaving school he learned the trade of miller. By industry and dili- 
gence he steadily advanced, became assistant miller and then head miller. He became so 
proficient that he could assume any position in the mill. He worked here, associated with 
his father, he bought wheat. In 1892 his father died and he became his successor and 
operated the mill until 1906, when he sold the mill to Schoening & Koenigsmark Milling 



■13- 



Company. Since then he devoted his time to the drainage of land and building it up. He 
owns many acres of rich land in the vicinity of Prairie du Rocher, within seven miles of 
town. He is also part owner of the Prairie du Rocher Lumber Company and F. M. Brickey 
and Company, general merchandising- 

Mr. Brickey was married to Miss Emily J. Glad September 29, 1891. Of this union were 
born three children: Lorina B., Alvina P., and Edythe M. Brickey. Mr. Brickey was trea- 
surer of the Prairie du Rocher Common schools and also treasurer of the village. Politi- 
cally he is a Democrat. 

The residential property of Mr. and Mrs. Brickey and family is a beauty spot of Prairie 
du Rocher and covers about four acres of land. Their residence is modern and up-to-date, 
complete in every respect, having hot and cold water system, electric light plants and all 
the modern improvements. The well-kept lawn, the fine shrubbery, makes this place one of 
the finest in Southern Illinois. 

Mr. Brickey, having studied music in college, is a lover of music. He organized a band 
in 1881 and by his untiring efforts led the band, and to this day plays in the band. Mr. 
Brickey has private telephone lines. He is a member of the Hoo Hoo Order. His children 
have finished school at Forest Park University, St. Louis, Mo. 

Mrs. Brickey was born March 13, 1868, in St. Louis, Mo. In 1872 Mr. and Mrs. Fr. Glad 
and family moved to Prairie du Rocher, where Mr. Glad became engineer in the mill and 
worked for the milling company for a quarter of a century. Mrs. Brickey (nee Glad) attended 
the parochial and public schools, and married September 29, 1891. She is an ideal help- 
mate to her husband, and not only looks after the domestic side but ofttimes assists in 
office work. 





F. M. Brickey 



Mrs. F. M. Brickey 



-14- 





Miss Lorina B. Brickey 



Miss Alvina P. Brickey 



(These biographies were taken from various sources and are all written in the present 
tense.) 



FRANKLIN W. BRICKEY 

Two years prior to Missouri's admission into the Union, October 16, 1819, Franklin W. 
Brickey saw the light of day in Potosi, Mo. He attended the public schools and at the age 
of 19 he came to Illinois. In 1838 he started in business at Fort Chartres, supplying steam- 
boats with wood and general merchandise. Enterprising and with great foresight he became 
interested in the Red Bud Mill. In 1858 he erected the present mill at Prairie du Rocher, 
and at that time his property in Fort Chartres had been swept away by high water. He af- 
terwards started the general merchandise store in Prairie du Rocher. At the solicitation 
of Mr. Brickey, Abe Lee, a companion became his partner and remained so until 1867, 
when he sold his interest to Mr. Brickey, who operated the mill until his death, December 
12, 1892, when his son, F. M. Brickey, succeeded in business. 

Mr. Brickey twice married. His first wife was Emily Connor. His second wife was 
Sarah J. Brightwell. The Brickey family consisted of three sons - J. C. Brickey, F. M. 
Brickey and Thomas C. Brickey, and one daughter. Belle Brickey. 



MR. AND MRS. M. H. PALMIER 

M. H. Palmier was born June 5, 1877, near Prairie du Rocher, 111. He attended the paro- 
chial school and after leaving school worked for his father until 1893, then he went to 
Prairie du Rocher and worked until 1897, when he went to Red Bud, 111., and was clerking 
in the hotel and cafe. It was here he met his wife (nee Miss Dillie Miller) and married 



-15- 



here January 28, 1901. Four children bless their home, viz: Phillip D. 
Wilmarth M., and Goldie A. Palmier. 



Berthram J. L. 



For a short time he engaged in the liquor business in St. Louis, but finally returned to 
Prairie du Rocher, and in 1908 purchased the present property. In 1908 he erected the new 
up-to-date building containing a large hall, salon and billiard room, saddlery, barber shop. 
Mr. Palmier is also owner of a fine residence which he had erected on a large lot 140 x 148 
feet. 

Mr. Palmier is a public-spirited citizen, politically a Democrat and served the public in 
the capacity of village treasurer in 1906, 1909, 1911, 1912; was elected on the village 
board and is still a member. He is well and favorably known to the community, always 
ready to assist in advancing the interest of the people. He was one of the instigators of 
the new electric light plant and enjoys the reputation of having an up-to-date place. 

Mrs. M. H. Palmier, who is daughter of A. G. Miller, for a number of years marshal of 
Red Bud, was born December 12, 1883. in Red Bud, 111. 





M. H. Palmier 



Mrs. M. H. Palmier 




Palmier's Hall and Cafe, Prairie du Rocher 



-16- 



The Early Church and Effects 

St. Joseph Church, Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, was established in 1722 as a chapel 
dependent upon the royally endowed church of Ste. Anne at Fort Chartres. King Louis XIV 
of France had dreamed of a great French empire in Mid America, but died before he could 
bring his dream to reality. Following his death in 1715, the regent, Philip of Orleans, rul- 
ing for the boy King Louis XV, comissioned Pierre Duque Boisbriant to found Fort Char- 
tres in 1718 on the mighty Mississippi, midway between Quebec and New Orleans, to be 
the capital of the new French empire in Mid America. The fort was named after the Due de 
Chartres, son of the regent, and was the functioning capital of the Illinois country, then a 
French possession. 




St. Joseph's, Prairie du Rocher 



From the beginning of the fort a church was established in the village of Nouvelle 
Chartres outside the walls. It was staffed by two Jesuit priests, Father Le Boullenger and 
Father De Beaubois, who cared for the spiritual needs of the soldiers garrisoned at the 
fort, and the French families of the area surrounding the fort. 

Soon the swampy condition of the soil near the fort prompted some of the French sett- 
lers to move to higher ground at the foot of the picturesque rock bluffs. Jean St. Therese 
Langlois, the nephew of Pierre Duque Boisbriant, commandant of the king, received from 
his uncle the commandant^ a grant of land for a village beneath the bluffs. They called it 
"La Belle Prairie du Rocher," namely, "The Beautiful Meadow Beneath the Rock." 



A chapel of logs in what is the present and original cemetery was erected for the con- 
venience of the people, so that they would not have to travel the muddy three miles to 
Ste. Anne at the fort. In 1734 this small chapel was replaced by a larger log church. A 
similar chapel was established at St. Philipe near what is now Renault and Harrisonville, 
and was called Our Lady of the Visitation. The river washed away completely the settle- 
ment and chapel at St. Philipe. In 1765, two years after all the rest of the Mississippi 
valley had been surrendered to the British, Fort Chartres likewise surrendered. 

-17- 



It was a sad day for the French in Mid America. Fort Chartres was the last place in 
America to fly the Bourbon flag of France, the three golden fleur-de lis on a background 
of blue. When the Bourbon flag was hauled down and the British flag hoisted in its place, 
an era had ended. Great changes were in the making. 

The royal church of Ste. Anne was abandoned and soon fell into disrepair. St. Joseph y 
chapel alone survived, and became the parish church for the area, supplanting, or rather, . 
continuing the mother church of Ste. Anne. 

In 1767 the records and sacred vessels of Ste. Anne were transferred to St. Joseph at 
Prairie du Rocher. The few remaining French at Nouvelle Chartres demanded them back, 
and a civil suit was entered in the British court. The court awarded them back to Ste. 
Anne. But by that time the church was without roof, and no priest was stationed there, and 
f(X safekeeping these priceless treasures were returned to St. Joseph at Prairie du Rocher, 
where they remain to this day and are the marvel and admiration of historians. 




St. Joseph's Church - Prairie du Rocher 
***'i'***'i"i<*'i"i'**'i'***'i"***'i'******************** ***************** 

MR. AND MRS. JOHN P. ELLNER 

Among the more prominent farmers inhabiting the region of Prairie du Rocher is Mr. 
John Peter Ellner of Rural Route #2. He is a native of the State of Missouri, where he 
was born in the town of Herman on August 18, 1872. However, his parents were of an ad- 
venturous disposition and not satisfied with the opportunities offered by our neighbor state, 
removed, in 1876, to Horse Prairie and later, in 1881, to Ruma, 111. Here the family at 
length found a pleasant home and remained in that district. Here Mr. Ellner received his 
education by attending both the public and parochial schools. 

His schooling over, he entered upon a busy and eventful life, Fate had not cast him 
into the lap of luxury, nor ordained that he should live a life of idleness and security. On 
the contrary, his life is a record of constant application and unremittant effort, as the man 
climbed ever higher and arrived at last at the very pinnacle of success. After leaving 
school Mr. Ellner worked on the farm of his parents until his twenty-second year. Then 
he spent four more years working as an assistant to several other farmers. Finally he saw 
himself able to become the manager of a farm, and in the year 1900 he rented a farm of 
120 acres. This farm it has been his sole ambition to improve and make a model for all 
who behold it. 

In the same year he was married. Mrs. Ellner was the daughter of Joseph Myerscough 

-18- 



of Hecker, 111. In that town she was born March 6, 1876. At the early age of 11 years she 
began to work for her subsistence, and continued to be thus employed until her marriage. 
The couple have two children, Albert John and Cecilia M. C. Ellner. They have applied 
themselves to such purpose that Mr. Ellner was able to purchase the farm in a few years. 
It was in 1916 that he became the proprietor. He says that this remarkable success is due 
to the fact that work is his hobby. 

Mr. Ellner is affiliated with the Republican party. His wife is a member of the Alter 
Society. 





Mr. and Mrs. John P. Ellner 

St. Joseph Church, the village of Prairie du Rocher, and Fort Chartres are the only liv- 
ing remnants of the attempt at a French empire in Mid America. Founded under the royal 
patronage of the Bourbon Kings of France both parish and town have survived the Bourbon 
kings themselves, the British rule, and finally the founding and development of the United 
States of America. 

St. Joseph Church venerable in its antiquity and the village of Prairie du Rocher are 
the only living monument of the French power in Mid America. The sacred vessels inheri- 
ted from the mother church of Ste. Anne are the only usable relics of a colorful epoch that 
ended on a note of tragedy. 

The present church building dates from 1850, and was inspired by the churches of 
Rome. Two residents of Prairie du Rocher, returning from the Holy Year of 1850, agitated 
for a new church. The foundations were laid to the right of the old log church, but in 1851 
came the great flood. It seemed imprudent to continue to build the new church there, for 
the floods had surrounded the site, cutting off access from the rest of the village. So the 
foundations were abandoned, and the church built at this present site. The Romanesque 
style, especially the flat ceiling, were copied after the famous basilicas and. churches of 
Rome. The corner stone was laid July 19, 1858. St. Joseph was never an Indian Mission 
but was for the French from the Start. It is thus the only truly French parish in the diocese. 

A careful examination of the parish registers reveals various important data besides 
the simple narrative of baptisms, marriages and deaths. The entries are all made in French. 
It is regretted that only three badly tattered leaflets_remain of the first parish register 
extending to October, 1743. These pages record merely baptisms, which are signed by the 
Jesuit Fathers, Ignatius Le Boullenger and Nicolas Ignatius de Beaubois. Le Boullenger 
appears to have been the founder of the parish, and Charlecois states that in 1721, when 
he visited the Illinois County; Father Joseph Francis de Kercben, S. J., assisted him. 
Beaubois was stationed at Kaskaskia. The Jesuits probably remained in charge of the 
parish until Father J. Gagnon assumed the postulate in 1743. 

-19- 




Priests Who Served St. Joseph Church, Prairie du Rocher 

Ignatius Le Boullenger, S. J. 1721-1726 

Nicholas Ignatius de Beaubois, S. J. 1726 

J. Gagnon. Pretre Miss. Apost. 1743-1755 

Nicolas Laurenz, Pretre Miss. Apost. 1747; Pierre Mercier, V. G. 

Philibert Watrin, S. J. 1744 and 1760 (of Quebec, 1749) 

Forget Duverger, Fr. Miss. Apost. 1757-1759 

Francis John Baptiste Aubert, S. J. 1758-17-59 

Hypolyte Collet, Recollect Miss. 1757-1764 

Luc Collet, Recollect Miss. 1762-1765 

Sebastian Louis Meurin, S. J. 1765-1777, V.G. 

Pierre Gibault 1770-1791, V.G. of Quebec 

De St. Pierre 1785-1792, Cure de Ste. Genevieve 

De Valinierre 1786-1788, V.G. 

Le Dru 1789-1792, Cure des Kaskaskias 

Levadoux, V.G. 1792 

Gabriel, Richard 1793-1798 

C. Lusson 1798 

H.F. Didier 1798 

J. Fr. Rivet, V.G. of Baltimore 1798-1799 

Donation Oliver 1798-1827 

John Timon. CM. 1826-1827, later Bishop of Buffalo 

Pierre Vergani, CM. 1827-1828 

Francis Cellini, 1827, 1830 

P.J. Doutrelluingue, CM. 1829-1830 

Vital Van Cloosterell, 1832-1854 

A. Mascaroni 1830-1831 

John Francis Regis Loisel 1830 

Fr. Borgna 1830 

Victor Paillaison 1830, 1831 

J.N. Odin, CM. 1832 



-20- 



E. Dupuy 1832 

P. Lefevre 1833 

N.J. Perrin 1855-1859 

Francis Recouvreur 1860, 1862 

J.A. Jacque 1861, 1862 

Henry Fredrick Frohboese 1864—1876 

Anthony Vogt 1876 

Charles Krewet 1876-1902; James Gillen 1899-1902 

Charles Eschmann 1902-1911 

William Van Delft 1911-1940; Stephen Freund 1940 

Raymond L. Harbaugh 1940-1948 

Elmer J. Holtgrave 1948-1956 

Theodore Siekmann 1956-1968; Walter MacPherson & Ralph Haas 

Jerome B. Ratermann 1968-1971 

Eugene Bungay 1971— 




Church and Rectory as originally built in 1858 and 1868 Respectively. 

MR. AND MRS. GEORGE J. SEITZ 

George J. Seitz, the well-known liquor dealer, was born August 11, 1870, in Ste. Gene- 
vieve, Mo. After attending the public and parochial schools, learned the trade of butcher 
and at the age of 20 went to St. Louis, working at his trade for some time; then- he returned 
to Ste. Genevieve, and in 1894 he went to Prairie du Rocher, working for Mr. Hauck, the 
butcher. From 1906 to 1910 he conducted a hotel and two years later, in 1912, he started 
a saloon and has conducted it ever since. 

Mr. Seitz is a Democrat, and is popular. He acquired considerable property, and is the 
owner of a 260-acre farm, besides saloon and residence property. 

Mr. Seitz was president of the school board for nine years and served as member of the 
village board for six years. He is also a member of the Prairie du Rocher band, playing 
the trombone. He was married to Mary E. Menard April 27, 1905, and to their union were 
born three boys, George L., Walter E., and Valentine M. Seitz, and two girls, Melba M. and 
Genevieve G. Seitz. 



-21- 



Mr. Seitz is fond of hunting and fishing, and is well-known in this section of the country. 

Mrs. George J. Seitz, who is the daughter of Edmund E. Menard of Prairie du Rocher, 
111., was born here March 21, 1873, and is a grandniece of Pierre Menard, the distinguished 
pioneer settler of Illinois, also first Lieutenant governor. Her first husband, John Brickey, 
to whom she was married in 1894, died in 1903. There were no children to this union. Her 
husband was a son of F. W. Brickey. the well-known mill proprietor. 





George J. Seitz 



Mrs. Geo^e J. Seitz 




uj > jmm*L.a!t sr r-'V*i mseSsx.^~~ 



Residence of George J. Seitz, Prairie du Rocher 



JOSEPH EICHENSEER 

Joseph Eichenseer, farmer, was bom September 17. 1870, in Madonnaville, Monroe 
County, 111. His present address is Red Bud, Randolph County, 111.. Rural Route No. 3. 
He attended the parochial school, after which he worked for his father until 1902. 



-22- 



On November 9, 1898, he was united in the holy bonds of matrimony to Miss Mary Vogt, 
The family was blessed with three children, all boys, vix: Henry A., Albert G. and Emil 
W. Eichenseer. 

Mrs. Joseph Eichenseer is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adam Vogt, and was born June 
11, 1878, near Red Bud, 111. After attending the parochial school she assisted her parents 
in the household duties until her marriage. 

His present farm of 100 acres was willed to him by his father, Joseph Eichenseer. 





Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Eichenseer 



SOCIAL LIFE OF EARLY SETTLERS 

*LA-GUI-ANNEE* 

Prairie du Rocher is the only place in Illinois that will on New Year's eve celebrate a 
French custom which was brought to Illinois in 1699 and has been performed yearly by the 
residents of their native countrymen since the middle ages. 

The French, who settled in the Prairie du Rocher-Kaskaskia-Cahokia area, surrendered 
themselves with all the religious, political and social customs of their native France. 
Among their social customs relating to the new year was La Gui-annee. 

The celebration of La Gui-annee had been a social custom in France 500 years before 
these people brought it to Illinois, and in that early day was an answer to certain social 
conditions of the time. The performers were the poor who sang with sacks in their hands 
and hopes in their heart of a gift of food for their New Year's feast. 

From the records of old St. Louis, La Gui-annee was being sung there in 1804. However, 
there was no pressure of poverty at the fort but the singers were in costumie and carried 
baskets as well as sacks. They were using the occasion to collect food and wine for 
serving at a masked ball which was the next social event of the new year. 

At Prairie du Rocherk La Gui-annee is strictly a social event. The residents turn on 
their porch lights to invite the singers. The performer s are costumed and sing one verse 
outside the house; the house-holder invites them in and they start their sdng over. After 
it is finished, the singers and those present exchange New Year's greetings and the hos- 
tess serves refreshments. 

To imagine how it was, let us go back. It is 7:30 P.M. New Year's Eve in Prairie du 
Rocher 



-23- 



GEORGE EICHENSEER 

George Eichenseer, farmer, was born September 11, 1878, in Madonnaville, Monroe 
County, 111. He attended the parochial and public schools and then worked for his father 
up to the present time. On April 16, 1907, he was married to Miss Mary Anna Hoef. One 
son was born to them, Karl Joseph Eichenseer. 

Mr. Eichenseer is the owner of a 140 acre farm. His wife was born October 25, 1885, 
in Prairie du Rocher, 111. After receiving her education she assisted her parents in house- 
hold duties until she was married. Mr. Eichenseer is a hard worker and has many friends. 








George Eichenseer Karl Mrs. G. Eichenseer John Eichenseer Mrs. J. Eichenseer 

JOHN EICHENSEER 

John Eichenseer, who gets his mail through Red Bud, 111., Rural Route No. 3, was 
born March 3, 1863, in Madonnaville, Monroe County, III. After leaving the parochial and 
and public schools he worked for his father until his marriage, which took place October 
28, 1890. Miss Mary Wierschem was his bride. Then he bought a farm of eighty acres, and 
has lived here ever since. 

Mr. Eichenseer reared a family of ten children - four sons, Vincent A., Leo William, 
Herman A., and Bernhard F; six daughters, Ida E., Christina A., Theresia A., Veronica 
F., Anastasia M. and Angela M. 

Mr. Eichenseer is a Democrat and is well known in the community. 

Mrs. Eichenseer (nee Wierschem) was born July 19, 1870, in Madonnaville, 111., and af- 
ter her school days assisted her parents until her marriage. 

You are waiting on a residential street not too far from the business district-all the 
houses have their porch lights on-as you look up and down the street, you see the houses 
bright and cheerful, still wearing their Christmas decorations. You are standing with a 
group of people, they too are waiting-you hear the distant murmur of voices and looking in 
the direction of the sound, see a shadowy group of people-you watch as they walk up the 
street toward you, the lights of a passing car falls upon them and you can see that they 
are in costume-there is someone walking ahead, leading them up the street. 

The scene excites you and you find yourself trying to visualize how it would have 
looked two hundred and seventy three years ago-log cabins, candles flickering in the 
windows-a sleigh going down the street; but you have no time, you must watch to see 
which of the houses they will choose for their first call. 



-24- 



They turn from the street and go through an opening where once hung a wrought iron 
gate, and up the walk-they stop and stand at the edge of the porch. 

You notice that everyone has become quiet - it is the strange silence of anticipation - 
you see him raise his arm, and you hear a cane tapping time on the porch - you say to 
yourself, this is La Gui-annee. The musicians start to- play and sing the first verse. As 
they finish, the musicians start over; this time the costumed group behind him repeats the 
verse. 

The householder, with a flourish of surprise, throws open the door and invites them in. 
After they enter, you again hear the music and the song. This time they will sing it in its 
entirety to the "Good Master and Mistress of the house and lodgets all." 

You lean on the wrought iron fence, close your eyes and shutting out the words you 
cannot understand, listen to the music. It is folk music, plaintive and simple. Such music, 
you realize, always remains interesting and delightful - the song is ended. 



JOHN SHEA 

John Shea, farmer, of Red Bud, Illinois, Rural Route #3, was born June 20, 1858, in 
Randolph County, near Prairie du Rocher. He attended the public school and then worked 
for his father, Michael Shea, until 1880, when he rented a farm near Prairie du Rocher, 
and in 1885, he moved to the present location, where he still resides. 

On September 25, 1883, he was united in the holy bonds of wedlock to Miss Katherine 
Faherty. Six children came to bless the family ties - two sons, William M. and Harry J.; 
four daughters, Mary C., Julia A., Ellen S. and Gertrude C. Shea. 

Mrs. Shea died April 21, 1915. 

Mr. Shea was a trustee of the Ruma Church for nine years. He is well known through- 
out this section and is very popular. 





Mr. and Mrs. John Shea 




Anton Siegfried, whose address is Red Bud, 111., Rural Route #3, was born in Elsass. 
Germany, July 26, 1852. After leaving school he worked for his father on a farm until 1872, 
when he emigrated to America, direct to Red Bud. For a while he worked on a farm, and in 

-25- 



1876 rented a farm. In 1888 he became a dealer in cattle and hogs. In 1891 he went to 
Ruma and opened a meat market. Seven years later he also opened a general merchandise 
store. Mr. Siegfried did not confine his buying to live stock, but also bought and sold farm 
lands. In 1910 he turned the meat market over to his sons and devotes his entire time to 
his merchandise business. 

Mr. Siegfried was married August 22, 1878, to Miss Mary Melly. Eight children were 
born to them, Arnold J., Leo J., Emil A. and Max M. Siegfried. 

Mr. Siegfried is a Democrat. He was a member of the school board for three years, and 
president of the Village of Ruma for two years. Besides owning the store he also owns a 
120 acre farm. 

Mrs. Anton Siegfried is the daughter of Mike Melly. She was born May 29, 1852, in 
Belleville, 111. At the age of 7 years her parents moved to Red Bud, 111. 



*LA GUi-ANNEE 



Bon soir la maitre et la maitress 
Et tout le monde du logis 
Pour le dernier jour de lannee 
La Guiannee vous nous devez 



Good master and mistress of the house 
And the lodgers all, good night to you 
For the last day of the ending year 
The La Gui annee is to us due. 



Si vous ne voules nous rein donne 

dites nous le. 
Nous vous demondous suelemant 

one echinee, 
Une echinee n'est past gran-chose 
Elle n'a que quatre pieds de long; 
Et nous enferens une fricassee 
De quart-vingt-dix pieds de long 



If it is nothing you will give 

then let us know, 
We ask only a pork back-bone you 

should bestow. 
A pork back-bone is no great prize 
'Tis only four feet long, in size 
With it we make fricasse. 
That ten and eight feet in length shall be. 



Si vous ne voluez nous rein donne 

dites nous le. 
Nous vous demandons seulement la 

fille ainnee: 
•Et nous lui ferons faire bonne chere 

nous lui ferons chauffer les pieds 



If you don't want to give us 
anything please let us hear, 

We only ask the oldest daughter 
to appear. 

With jolly good chear we will her greet 
and we will warm her chilly feet. 



Quand nous fumes aux milieux des 

bois nous fumes a lombre, 
J'ai attendue le coucou chanter et 

la colombe; 
Et le rosignol du vert bocage 
L'ambass-adeur des amoureaux, 
Va aller dire a ma maitresse 
Qu'elle ait toujours le cour joyeux 

Qu'elle ait tourjours le coeur 
Joyeux, point de tristesse 

Mais ces jeunes filles qu'ont pas 
d'amants comment font elles 

Ce sont les amours qui les revillent 

Et qui les empechent de dormir 



When we were in the midst of the 
woods in shaded groves 

We listen to the cuckoo sing 
and the turtle dove. 

And the nightingale of the 
bower green. 

As herald of love will go and say 

That every my heart is joyous gay 
My heart is ever filled with joy 

and sorrow not. 
But all the young girls that are 

loveless; what is their lot? 
It is love's effects that keeps 

them wake, 
And will not allow them rest to 

take. 



-26- 



Nous suppliant la compagnie 
D'vouloir bien nous excuseer 
Si nous avous fait quelque folie 
C'etait pour nous deennuye. 



We supplicate the Company 
it was for our recreation 

If we have committed any folly 
to be willing to excuse us. 



You hear the clamor of happy voices and laughter, as greetings and good wishes for the 
New Year are exchanged. You look past the Christmas wreath in the window, and see the 
hostess with her tray; the faces of the people tell you that La Gui-annee is a warm and 
friendly occasion. 

Soon the jovial group, accompanied by their observers, will stop at another house and 
repeat this performance. Thus goes La Gui-annee about the town 'and into the early hours 
of the new year. 




A look into the past of the character of the early French settlers shows that they were 
not ambitious for wealth or knowledge, but, as one historia.n describes them "were con- 
tent to take the world as it came and endeavored to extract all the enjoyment possible out 
of life and to avoid its unnecessary cares. All were devout Catholics and punctual in the 
discharge of their religion duties. They were eminently a social people. Instead of settling 
oh separate farms, like the American pioneers, they clustered together in villages so that 
they might have the greatest opportunity for social contacts. Their physical wants were 
easily supplied and the great part of their lives was given to pleasure. The young people 
delighted in the dance, and this cheerful and innocent diversion was actually carried on 
under the eye of the Priest and the aged patriarchs of the village who frequently sympa- 
thized with the spirit of the gay assemblage. Old and young, rich or poor, met together in 
good feeling and with merriment. It was the usual custom to dance the old year out and the 
new year in. The numerous festivals of the Catholic church strongly tended to awaken and 
develop the social and friendly disposition of the people. On the morning of the Sabath 
they were always found at church, but the rest of the day was devoted to social past times 
and hospitality and generosity were common virtues. 

"Their costume was peculiar. Blue was their favorite color and handkerchiefs of that 
hue usually adopted the heads of both men and women. No genuine French-man in early 
times ever wore a hat, cap or coat. The "capot", made of white blanket, was the univer- 
sal dress for the laboring class of people. In summer the men wore a coarse blue material 
and in the winter, buckskin. The women wore deerskin moccasins and the men a thicker 
leather. With that natural aptitude for dress, which seems to belong peculiarly to their 
nation, the women caught up with the fashions of New Orleans and Paris with great en- 

-27- 



thusiasm and adopted them, as far as they were able. Notwithstanding their long separa- 
tion by immense wilderness from civilized society, they still retain all the suavity and 
politeness of their race. It was said that the roughest hunter, or boatmen among them, 
could at any time other gay assemble, with the courage and behavior of a well-bred gen- 
tleman. The women were remarkable for the sprightness of their conversation and the case 
and elegance of their manners. 

"The French were on friendly terms with the Indians and they could easily adapt them- 
selves to any circumstance, making themselves at home by the camp fires of the savage. 
When with modes of life and dressed like them. 




A Festive Day 



1799 



On a certain day in January, 1799, (the exact date cannot now be ascertained) the little 
village of Prairie du Rocher was all aglow with excitement. A party of soldiers had ar- 
rived. It was a detachment under the command of Col. George Rogers Clark, and they de- 
cided to spend the evening at the hospitable home of Captain Jean Baptiste Barbeau, 
(Barber.). Col. Clark tells of this hospitable reception and the "ball" that followed: "We 
went cheerfully to Prara De Ruch,' 12 miles from Kaskaskia, war I intended to spend the 
Eavening at Capt Barbers." 

"The Gentlemen & Ladies immediately assembled at a Ball for our Entertainment; we 



-28- 



spent the fore part of the night very agreeably; but about 12 o'clock there was a very sud- 
den change by an Express arriving, informing us that Governor Hamrailton was within 
three miles of Kaskaskia with eight hundred Men, and was determined to attack the Fort 
that night . . . . " 

Col. Clark at once ordered his horses daddled in order, if possible, to get into the Fort 

before the attack could be made Clark's brave conduct inspired a number of young 

men of Prairie du Rocher to saddle their horses and accompany their intrepid leader. But 
the great attack never occurred. The fact, however, remains, that Col. George Rogers Clark 
danced with some of the belles and mesdames of old Prairie du Rocher on the night of a 
certain day in January, 1799. 

The early French settlers of Prairie du Rocher were neither all good nor all bad, nor 
were they all intermarried with savage women, nor were they all "coureurs de bois". Most 
of them knew little more ttian to read and write, and their accounts, if any, were some- 
times carved with a pocket-knife into the doorstep or window casing. 




Jrartic. du Courj dtu 
).cuyo 6. LouL^F OIL' yi^wisuc/ifib . 

The Illinois Country From The Illinois To The Ohio 



C. J. KRIBS 



The best teacher, it is said, is experience. C. J. Kribs, circuit clerk of Randolph 
County, has had varied experiences. He was born February 19, 1867, in Belleville, 111. 
He attended the parochial and public schools, after which he learned the trade of harness 
maker in St. Louis. After a residence of five years in this city he went to Chicago and 
worked for four years as assistant store-keeper in the Illinois Steel Works. Then he went 
to Prairie du Rocher, and after a short stay went to St. Louis, working for the Metropoli- 
tan Insurance Co. He was promoted and made superintendent of the Alton district. It was 
in Alton -that he met his wife, then Miss Susan Elizabeth Bissinger, to whom he was mar- 
ried November 10, 1892. Later they moved to St. Louis and in 1894 to Prairie du Rocher, 
where he opened a harness store; then added a full line of farming implements and general 
merchandise. In 1904 G. A. Reifel became a partner, the firm being named C. J. Kribs & 
Company. 

-29- 



In 1912 he was elected circuit clerk and a year later moved his family to Chester, the 
county seat, where the family, Mr. and Mrs. Kribs and four sons - Harold A., Lewis J. A., 
Charles A. and William Kribs reside. 

Mr. Kribs was elected on the Democratic ticket as circuit clerk, and was mayor of 
Prairie du Rocher for four years. In social and fraternal societies he was honored, being 
president of the Prairie du Rocher Commons; a member of the Knights of Columbus, Mod- 
ern Woodmen, Mutual Protective League and Chester Fishing Club. 

Mrs. Kribs was born in Alton, Illinois, February 10, 1871. She attended the Alton paro- 
chial and public schools. She was graduated from the Alton High School in 1890, and is a 
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Bissinger. Mrs. Kribs' father has been in the Alton post- 
office department for the last 20 years; also a member of the school board for 20 years. In 
1892 Mrs. Kribs took a teacher's examination in Edwardsville, 111., for the purpose of 
teaching school, and after passing the examination successfully, and preparing to teach 
at Alton, Mr. Kribs decided it best for her to teach his little school instead. So her school 
was given to another applicant. 

Harold Kribs was born in Prairie du Rocher, 111., Sept. 15, 1894, and graduated from tfie 
parochial school there. He was a winner of The State Normal Course. Then he went to 
Alton and attended the Brown's Business College and took a general business course, 
graduating in 1911. After finishing school he was engaged in the office of the United 
States Radiator Corporation at Edwardsville as Stenographer, and the next year was pro- 
moted to inspector of the plant, and a short time after that the company sent him to Dun- 
kirk, N. Y., as an inspector there. Later he was sent to West Newton, Pa., and then back 
to Edwardsville, 111., for a short period, when the company again sent him to Pittsburg, 
Pa., for six months, and now he is in Detroit, Mich., as office manager at that place. 

Lewis J. A. Kribs was born in Prairie du Rocher, 111., October 24, 1897. He graduated 
from the parochial school there and was one of the winners of the State Normal Course. 
He attended the Chester High School and later on went to Sparta, 111., for a business 
course, and finally finished his stenographic course in St. Louis Brown's Business Col- 
lege, from which he graduated in Oct. 1915. 

Charles A. Kribs was born in Prairie du Rocher, III., September 15, 1899. He graduated 
from the parochial school in Chester, 111., after having gone to the school at Prairie du 
Rocher until the family moved to Chester, and then finishing at Chester. 

William Kribs was born in Prairie du Rocher, III., May 4, 1902, and attended the paro- 
chial school at that place until 1912, when the family moved to Chester, where he is now 
attending the parochial school and is in the eighth grade. 




C. J. Kribs & Company 
Merchandise Store 



-30- 



,_.„,,,. -5j5?:»>s™--:??K.a«»VV.<H*5S1?3=5:"i3f^^^ '•■•^ 





Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Kribs 



The ancestors of most of them had come from the Normandie, and they naturally ad- 
hered to I'usage du pays --- the custom of the country. The first settlers followed the 
rivers — the only highways of those days. Every cultivateur wanted frontage, bottom 
ground, and high ground. So they laid out narrow strips, measured in arpents, and gave to 
each four to six arpents in width and ten or more in length. The houses were built in a 
row, each on its own land, but never far apart. Their ancestors in Canada had so long 
been subject to the brutal attacks of the savages that they preferred the open prairie, 
where no Indian could lurk behind a tree, and, in case of attack, the settlers would al- 
ways be near one another. 

"The houses", writes Breese, were built in a very simple and unpretending style of 
architecture. Small timbers which the 'Commons' supplied, roughly hewed and placed up- 
right in the ground a few inches apart, formed the body, the interstices being filled with 
sticks, pieces of stone and mud, neatly whitewashed within and without, with low eaves 
and pointed roofs, covered with thatch, or with shingles fastened by wooden pins. Those 
of the wealthier class were of strong, well-hewed frames, in the same peculiar, though 
more finished style, or of rough limestone, with which the country abounded. Porches, or 
galleries as they were called, protected them on every side from the. sun and storms, whilst 
the apartments within were large, airy and convenient, with little furniture, but well- 
scoured or neatly waxed floors. Pictures illustrative of our Saviour's passion, or the 
Blessed Virgin . . . decored the walls . . . well calculated to inspire devotional senti- 
ments in a people naturally and by education so much inclined thereto." 




A typical French Home at Prairie du Rocher. 
-31- 



Their dishes and pots were mostly of earthenware; they had tin spoons, zinc coffee 
pots and tea kettles, iron forks, perhaps a copper dipper, - but no knives for table use. 
Those were still the frontier days, when men and women had to be prepared to fight off 
the lurking savage, and each man and woman carried a large dagger-like clasp knife for 
protection, usually dangling on a little chain fastened to the cincture or belt. Why have 
two knives! At meals both men and women used their dagger knives. "By honoured tradi- 
tion," writes Adjutor Rivard, "The cradle passed from generation to generation, a precious 
family possession; and it is the born right of the eldest daughter to bring it down from 
her father's roof when she awaits the first visit of the stork. Thus from mother to daugh- 
ter has the old cradle, affectionately known as the "blue box", decended to us. And who 
fashioned it in the far away past? . . . The colonist has hewn for himself a home in the 
forest. In the middle of the clearing he has built the house which harbours the love, his 
joy, his dearest hopes .... 

The children did not eat at the family table until they had received their first Holy 
Communion. In better situated families they had a small table to themselves, in others 
they ate at the block, on which meat was chopped or people sat, for want of an extra chair. 
Children in their quarrels would say to one anothej: "You still eat at the block." 

All the early settlers were hunters; and the flint-lock muzzle-loader and powder-hprn 
hung from the middle beam of the kitchen, wKich also served as living-room and bedroom. 

The Last Will and Testament, sometimes drawn up by an itinerant, notary, was a solemn 
document. It set forth that nothing is more certain than death, and nothing more uncertain 
than the hour thereof. In the formula used, the testator then professed his faith and "re- 
commended his soul to God the Father Almighty, praying Him, through the merits of the 
passion and death of our Lord and through the intercession of the glorious Virgin Mary . . . 
that when his soul shall free itself from his body, to vouchsafe to place it among the 
number of the blessed in the heavenly kingdom." 

A peculiar custom prevailed, that immediately after the death of the testator, the not- 
ary, who had written the will, was called, and the will was solemnly read in the presence 
of the family, over the corpse of the departed. 




Map of the Kaskaskia Country — 1796 
-32- 



Men and young men, on week-days and on Sundays wore the capot -- a garment of home- 
spun gray, caught about the waist by a belt of red or checkered woolen stuff, and topped 
off with a tuque of Norman hat with a broad ribbon about the crown and hanging down on 
one side. The color of the tuque varied. In the Quebec district, white; and at Montreal and 
Fort de Chartres, blue. 

Most of the habitants made their own shoes — soft sole, and top reaching to the knee. 
They were called bottes sauvages. Of course, they did their own tanning of hides. 

Women's dress! Blue or scarlet bodice without sleeves, skirt of a different color, and 
straw hat while at work in the fields. The inventories of those days show a large assort- 
ment of short clocks made of 'etoffe or calico; bodices of woolen stuff; skirts of dimity 
(X drugget, and of white and red striped cotton or flowery calico, and handkerchiefs of 
many colors, made of cotton, muslin, or even silk. Jewelry was rare. Every good wife 
wore her wedding ring, a silver ring, and a silver cross. 

"In their domestic relations", writes Breese, "they were exemplary, .kind to their 
slaves, and affectionate to their children, loving each other as much as they should, and 
faithful to all their vows. In truth, the domestic circle was a very happy and a very cheer- 
ful one." 




"Though there were slaves within, it was not a prison house, and such was the kind- 
ness always manifested towards them in health and in sickness that they sought not to 
escape from it . . . When sick or afflicted, they were nursed with the greatest care, and 
withal, were the recipients of so much kindness, as to become unmindful of the fetters 
with which a wicked policy had bound them." 

As tillers of the land, the habitants in the Mississippi Valley were not very successful. 
They had the advantage of a rich alluvial soil, and it was perhaps not so much due to 
their own industry as to the soil that the crops grew. 




-33- 



syi** 




According to Breese, "their implements and mode of using them were primitive indeed, 
a wooden plow, generally, and to carry their grain at harvest, small carts resembling those 
used by the Swiss peasantry in their vintages, with no iron about them .... To these, if 
oxen were used, they were connected not by a yoke, but by a strong wooden bar, well se- 
cured to the horns by strips of untanned hide, and guided by a rope of the same material. 
If horses were used, they were driven tandem, at length, or one before the other, and con- 
trolled entirely by the whip and voice, without ropes or reins." 

The life of the habitant was patriarchal, simple, sober, and frugal; hospitality was gen- 
erous, and courtesy charming. He was satisfied with little on the principal that "content- 
ment surpasses riches." He was retentive of the old. Why do things differently? Ce n'est 
pas I'usuage du pays! - It is not the custom of the country! 

"They (the habitants) visited on feast-days and Sundays," writes Roy, "to enjoy them- 
selves, to dance, to eat fruit, to play cards. Houses in which there was no violin were 
rare. The workingmen, bent over his plow or in the midst of his hardest labors, loved to 
sing. It was the same with the frugal, thrifty housewife, no matter how tired from her 
work." 



"Pretexts for merry making, were many. If they killed a hog, they gave the choicest 
pieces to their friends. They exchanged blood-sausage and liver-sausage. St. John's fires 
were lighted; ... the baptism of a baby was nearly always a pretext for a reunion of rela- 
tives and friends ... It was not a real wedding, if it did not last three days and three 
nights". 




vjflf«^^^ 



-34- 



Georges Bouchard, who, in Other Days Other Ways, so beautifully sketched the simple, 
humble life of the habitant of former days, writes: "One must have lived among these men 
of the soil to be able to appreciate all the wholesome and exuberant gaiety, all the charm 
of these village feasts . . . The old fiddle, fashioned by the dexterous hand of the grand- 
'pere, out of a length of plaine (hard maple) free of knots and a plank of fir, in the course 
of long winter nights spent at the corner of the fireplace, often revealed itself a choice 
instrument under the deft touch of the village fiddler . . . The fiddlestick was formed very 
simply of a lock of horsehair from la Grise (the gray mare), drawn taut on a bow of supple 
wood . . . 







"At weddings particularly does the fiddle demonstrate its superiority over all other in- 
struments of music. His services, retained a long time ahead of the ceremony, the violon- 
eux arrives with a flourish and is received with enthusiasm. He is less of a hireling than 
a professional man called in to direct consequential and stirring entertainment . . . 

"After kissing la mariee (the bride) and greeting la compagnee (the company, the 
guests), the violoneux allows himself to be steered into la grand'chambre (the big room, 
the bedroom of the father and mother) where he lays his wraps on the bed and partakes of 
the customary p'tit coup (little drink) . . . The fiddle is sfipped of its shroud of check- 
ered cotton to be tuned up and adjusted to the shoulder of its owner with a solemnity that 
compels the deepest silence. The silk kerchief wraps itself about the neck of the artist. 
The dancers swiftly find their places in the middle of the floor for the opening cotillon . . . 
In the bottom of a glass of rum the fiddler finds the fortitude to carry on to the end ..." 

Another important ceremony was the drawing up by the notary and signing of the ante- 
nuptial contract. This ceremony generally took place the Sunday preceding the wedding. 
The notary would solemnly read the contract in the presence of the relatives and friends. 
When he came to the part reciting the mutual dowry, he would "rush for the bride and 
place a sonorous kiss on both cheeks. 

It must be remembered that the Commandants and officers of Fort de Chartres were 
mostly men of the nobility, and some of them Knights of the Military Order of St. Louis. 
Their families lived in the village of Ste-Anne. This infused into the social atmosphere 
a certain refinement and etiquette. Then, too, there was the proximity of the fort, the 
Fleur-de-Lis floating over its ramparts, the morning and evening drumbeats, the bugle 
calls, the commands of the officers and the drilling of the soldiers, the hurried departure 



-35- 



ac arrival of messengers, the coming and going of convoys with news they brought from 
New Orleans. 




JOHN N. LOUVIER 

The oldest resident in the town of Prairie du Rocher is John N. Louvier, who was born 
in the village, in the year 1802, and has since lived in the town or in the vicinity. His fa- 
ther was Antoine Louvier, a Frenchman, who came to Illinois country when a boy. Antoine 
Louvier was born about the year 1767, and was ten or fifteen years of age whe'. he came 
to Randolph County. He married Louise Langlois. The Langlois family was o.. . of the 
earliest and most influential in the community, the first of which to come to Prairie du 
Rocher was Etenne Langlois. 

Antoine Louvier was a farmer, and lived a short distance to the south of Prairie du 
Rocher. Here on the old homestead four children were born and raised. The fourth of these 
was John N., the subject of this sketch. Only two of his brothers, Cyprian and Benjamin, 
are now living, both near the town of Prairie du Rocher, John N. Louvier was born in the 
year of 1802, on the second day of March. There were few schools at that day in Prairie 
du Rocher. The population then was almost entirely French. Subscription schools were 
held whenever any one could be obtained to teach. Mr. Louvier only went to school three 
months of his life. This was to a French school, and for his English education he was 
compelled to look out for himself. His father was a man of good circumstances, in fact 
what would be called a rich man in those early times, when little wealth was known in 
comparison with the present, and when the inhabitants could boast only of the commonest 
comforts of life. He owned a farm of three hundred acres, and the work was done almost 
entirely by negro slaves, while the father and sons acted the part of overseers. 

Mr. Louvier was married on the fifth day of March, 1822 to Mary Louise Blais, a mem- 
ber of the Blais Family, one of the oldest in Prairie du Rocher. Mr. Louvier was only 
three days from twenty years old. It was a more common practice in those days to marry at 
an early age than at the present. Mr. Louvier rented land from his father and began farm- 
ing. He lived on rented land about five years. At the expiration of this time he had saved 
enough money to buy two hundred acres of land at the government price of a dollar and 
a quarter an acre. All this money he had earned by his own labor. When he was married 
his father gave him money enough to pay the expenses of his wedding day, and then left 
him to his own resources. The land which he bought lay on the Fort Chartres Reserve and 
Mr. Louvier moved on the place and farmed successfully for forty-two years. His career as 
a farmer was one which may well be alluded to. with more pride. He began work at once 
with energy. He has probably been more successful as a corn raiser than any one else 
about Prairie du Rocher. The virgin alluvial soil near old Fort Chartres offered him a field, 

-36- 



and some years he was accustomed to sell as much as fifteen thousand bushels of corn. 
Year by year he averaged five thousand bushels. He had one hundred and fifty acres under 
cultivation, and this was put in with corn every year. Part of the ruins of the old fort were 
embraced within his farm. 

Mr. Louvier's wife died in the year 1867. On the ninth of February 1869, he was married 
the second time to Mary Louise Barbeau, the daughter of Antoine Barbeau. Mr. Louvier has 
since made his home in Prairie du Rocher. By his first wife he had twelve children, of 
whom five are now living, four sons and one daughter. These are Eugene, Vietal, Gabriel, 
John and Josephine. The daughter is now the wife of Antoine Horel. All the children are 
living in the neighborhood of Fort Chartres. During his long life Mr. Louvier has generally 
voted the Democratic ticket, though he has not been particularly interested in the schemes 
of the politicians, and has occupied a somewhat independent position. Mr. Louvier bears 
well his more than three score and ten years. He was originally possessed of a stout and 
vigorous constitution, which years of hard labor and exposure have not affected as much 
as might be supposed. He is hale and hearty with the promise of many years before him. 
As has been before remarked, Mr. Louvier is the oldest native - born inhabitant of Prairie 
du Rocher, the person who, more than anyone else, supplies the link which binds the old 
Prairie du Rocher of the beginning of the present century - a straggling village of meanly - 
built log huts, in whose streets was scarcely overheard a word of English, with the Prairie 
du Rocher of today - a neat and pretty village, thriving with industry, and well worthy the 
beauty of the hills which surround it. Here Mr. Louvier's life has been spent, and here he 
has earned the reputation of being an honest, industrious and good citizen. 



To quote Breese again: "When their isolated position is considered, separated by a 
long river and a vast ocean from old France, and by a trackless wilderness from Canada, 
every institution calculated to inspire the feelings of equality and soften and subdue 
their native asperities would in this way contribute to swell the measure of their happi- 
ness, and what could be better adapted to this end than a religion whose holy days and 
fates brought the whole population so frequently together as one one common level ... In 
the same dance all classes cheerfully participated ... The black-eyed brunette, who en- 
gaged as a daily avocation in what the fashionable might consider menial services, in the 
ball-room, attired in her finery, full of cheerful smiles and artless coquetry, might be the 
leading star of every eye ... To her a courtly Knight of the Military Order of St. Louis 
might bow with the most respectful obeisance, while at the same time, she was the be- 
trothed of a poor, but honest laborer ... and so they lived on in comparative happiness 
and tranquillity, laughed and danced, loved and married, and died, and these make up 
their short and simple annals." 



.*■- 











-37- 



MR. JOHN GRASSINGER 

Mr. John Grassinger of Prairie du Rocher, was born July 6, 1836, in Bavaria, Germany, 
and came to America in 1850. Coming first to St. Louis, he remained there until his father 
died, in Jhe same year, and left him an orphan. He worked as a gardener until 1865, when 
he bought the farm which is now owned by his son-in-law. He owns his present home in 
the town, whither he removed on his retirement from farming. In 1856 he was married to 
Miss Mary M. Chapen, who bore him four children, Henry J., William P., Lucille and Liz- 
zie. Mrs. Grassinger died in 1908. Mr. Grassinger is a Democrat, a member of the Catholic 
Knights of America and of the school board. He enjoys perfect health and is a familiar 
figure in the town. 







Gilbert Blais 



Mrs. Gilbert Blais John Grassinger 

MR. MAURICE FRAWLEY 



Maurice Frawley 



A very beloved inhabitant of Prairie du Rocher is Mr. Maurice Frawley. He was born in 
beautiful Ireland, in County Limerick, in the year 1833. Here he spent his childhood, went 
through the parish school, and was married to Miss Mary Crimmins on February 4, 1859. Of 
their children only a daughter is still alive. They came to America in 1862, residing in 
New York until October, 1865, when they joined the westward tide and came to St. Louis 
and continued their residence there until 1872. That year Mr. Frawley and family moved 
to Kidd, Monroe County, Illinois, and rented the Waddle farm, which they continued to till 
until 1913, when on account of old age Mr. Frawley retired and took up his residence at 
Prairie du Rocher. Mr. Frawley looks back upon a life of toil, yet filled with the happiness 
of having gained his livelihood by honesty and sacrifice. 



MR. AND MRS. GILBERT BLAIS 

Mr. Gilbert Blais w^,s born Dec.ember 20, 1840, in Prairie du Rocher and after going to 
school, spent his youth on the farm of his mother. Here he learned all the secrets of suc- 
cessful farming and was finally able to go to farming on his own account. He now married 
Miss Mary E. Louiver. She was a native of Prairie du Rocher, where she was born on the 
Commons on January 24, 1849. Her father was Henry Louiver. 

The couple then entered upon that life of farming, and the improvement of their land, 
which went on uninterrupted until the death of Mr. Blais. This occurred February 1, 1887. 
The results of their efforts were so marked that they came to win a farm of 120 acres of 
the choicest land and improved in every respect. Five children were born to them, one 
son, Thomas G., and four daughters. Olive O., Leona E., Anna S. and Zoe L. The family 
includes also a daughter of Mrs. Blais by a former marriage, Mary G. Kerr. 



-38- 



Nor had they been idle socially, for they were well known in a circuit of many miles and 
beloved of a wide circle of friends. The husband was a devoted Catholic, and the wife 
has at various times done a good deal for the Church. She is a member of the Altar So- 
ciety. After the death of her husband she took up the management of the farm, continuing 
his good methods and keeping the family together. 

Every home is a universe in miniature. Here, too, powers and influences of great mo- 
ment are continually at work. But within the family the forces making for great and lasting 
ends spring forth from moral and spiritual sources and lie in the soul of the man and wom- 
an. Thus, the most beautiful aspects of the family radiate from its relations to the Church, 
this everlasting fountain of peace and happiness. Without this inestimable feature social 
standing and industrial capacity dwindle into insignificance, and with it relatively un- 
acquainted human beings rival mighty potentates and emperors. 



Indians and CM mate 

By the time the early French arrived, the Mississippi had laid layer upon layer of rich 
silt on the land for decades. They copied the Indian way of planting corn in the spring, 
fcxgetting about it, and harvesting it in the fall. Since there was no need to till the soil, 
the populace had leisure time. Why the Indians did not build a great culture can be ex- 
plained partially through the humid climate. 

The American Bottom is humid and moist which produces a lassitude and inertia that 
hangs heavy over the valley. Consequently, creative work is to a large extent inhibited. 
Visitors to Prairie du Rocher who sleep in the bottoms often comment how difficult they 
find it to rise in the morning, and how this sluggishness increases with the heat of noon. 
Exhaustion from this lanquor is soon dispersed with as the visitor returns homeward. The 
climate is partially responsible for the preservation of many old interesting buildings; 
moreover, for the calmness, and peacefulness which is characteristic of its' inhabitants. 

Strangely enough the French settled at Prairie du Rocher before the Metchigamias In- 
dians with whom we associate this area. 



Illinois consisted of at this time five basic Indian tribes known as the "Illinois Confed- 
eracy": 




-39- 



HENRY KER 

The father of Henry Ker, a leading farmer in the neighborhood of Prairie du Rocher, 
was a man than whom few have seen more varied vicissitudes or lef lives of more remark- 
able adventure. His name, like that of the subject of our biography, was Henry Ker, and 
he was born at Boston, Massachusetts, the son of English parents, who were temporarily 
residing at that place. He lived but a short time in Massachusetts. The family moved back 
to London where Henry received his education. He seems to have been born with an adven- 
turous disposition, and habits of personal courage and daring. 

He left London in April, 1808, for Charleston, South Carolina, and thus began a series 
of travels which extended over eight years. He traveled through the Carolinas westward 
to the sources of the French Board river, and followed its current down to the Holston to 
the Tennessee, and then by the waters of that river and the Ohio and Mississippi, stop- 
ping at various places along the banks to learn something of the nature of the localities 
and the habits of the people, he at last reached New Orleans. In the summer of 1809 a 
visit was made to some of the West Indian Islands, particularly Jamaica. Leaving the West 
Indies, the vessel on which he took passage to Savannah was shipwrecked, and he was 
compelled to return to Kingston. He next found his way to New Orleans, from which he as- 
cended to the sources of the Red river, and spent some time among the different Indian 
tribes. Among his other adventures he killed a snake thirty-eight feet in length. He also 
discovered a mine of platina, but fell under the suspicion of the Indians and was sentenced 
to be killed. He was suddenly rescued by the chiefs daughter, much after the manner in 
which Pocahontas interfered in behalf of the life of Captain John Smith. 

He then traveled South, and passing through the province of Tula, arrived at the City of 
Mexico. In February, 1814, he bethought himself of returning to the United States, but be- 
fore getting out of the country was captured by a band of banditti. His faithful negro ser- 
vant, Edom, his companion through many days of toil and danger, was killed, but Ker him- 
self gained the friendship of the leader of the band by his skill in medicine, and was per- 
mitted to escape. He immediately started for the United States, and traveled extensively 
through Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and up the Atlantic coast to New York. 
He published a book at Elizabethtown, New Jersey, in 1816, which describes at length 
his "travels through the western interior of the United States, with a particular descrip- 
tion of a great part of Mexico, or New Spain, and accounts of thirteen different tribes of 
Indians." 

Such was the father of Henry Ker. He came to Randolph County in 1816, and located at 
Prairie du Rocher as a physician, and at the same time opened a store for dry goods and 
general merchandise. This was in the year 1816. Soon after coming to Prairie du Rocher 
he married Felicite Fascair, who was born and raised in Prairie du Rocher. She was a 
member of one of the early French families. Henry Ker died on the eighth of June 1828, 
having spent his life since 1816 in Prairie du Rocher, with the exception of three or four 
years, during which he resided at Ste. Genevieve, Mo. His life had been eventful. He was 
a man of fine natural talents, and good education, as is shown in the volume he left be- 
hind him. His wife Felicite lived till February 1846. 

Henry Ker had four children, Ambrose, John, William, and Henry, of whom all are dead 
except the youngest, Henry, the subject of this biography. He was the posthumous child of 
his father, born on the Twenty-second of January, 1829, while his father had died in June, 
seven months preceding. The village of Prairie du Rocher was his birthplace, where also 
he was raised and went to school, going two yealrs to a French school, and nineteen 

-40- 



months to an English teacher. This was all the schooling he enjoyed. French was the lan- 
guage of his mother and the family, and he was unable to speak English till seventeen. 
His mother remarried a farmer, Antoine Langlois, and Mr. Ker worked on a farm from the 
time he was able to be of any use. He drove a horse-mill at Rocher, two miles below Prair- 
ie du Rocher, then the only mill of the kind in the country. 

He remained at home till seventeen years of age, and then began life for himself by 
hiring out to work on a farm at six dollars a month. He worked about three years in this 
way. In 1849 he was working for Mr. Brickey, of Prairie du Rocher, for ten dollars a month, 
when a party was organized to visit California, the discovery go fold having recently been 
made in that country. Beside Mr. Ker, Antoine Blais, Dr. McDonald, Dr. Smith, Captain 
Whiteside, of Waterloo and several others were numbered among the members of the expe- 
dition. Starting in April, 1849, the party reached California by the overland route the suc- 
ceeding October. Mr. Ker at once went to work at mining gold, and continued pretty close- 
ly at it during the time he remained in California. He succeeded in accumulating about 
two-thousand dollars. The party kept together as much as possible. Among their adventures 
was a skirmish with the Indians. In October, 1850, Mr. Ker sailed from San Francisco, and 
reached New Orleans by way of the Isjthmus of Panama, whence he proceeded up the Miss- 
issippi to his home in Randolph County. 

In the spring of 1851, that following his return home, he rented land and settled down 
once more as a farmer. The prospects were favorable for a good crop, when the high water 
of that year swept everything away, and left him without resources with which to begin 
again. In May of the same year he was married to Mary Brown, who died in childbirth the 
following February 1852. The year following the disaster by the overflow Mr. Ker again 
began as best he could, and rented land on till 1856. His second marriage occurred two 
years after the death of his first wife, in February, 1854 to Mary Phegley, the daughter of 
Jacob Phegley. Miss Phegley was born in Ohio County; Kentucky, August eight, 1823, and 
was about twenty-two years old when she first came permanently to Illinois. She was a 
sister of William Phegley, who had been Mr. Ker's companion and partner during his life 
in California. He has had two children by his present wife, Mary and William H. The daugh- 
ter is the wife of Frank Cirnino, who lives in the neighborhood of Prairie du Rocher, 111. 

In 1856, Mr. Ker bought the property on which he now resides. He purchased about two 
hundred and ten acres, one hundred and forty at two dollars and fifty cents an acre, and 
seventy at six dollars. In 1861 he bought an additional seventy for thirteen dollars. None 
of this land was in cultivation at the time of coming into Mr. Ker's hands. The spot now 
occupied by his buildings, was a dense growth of brush and forest, where now is a richly 
cultivated and productive tract of land. His farm is composed of three hundred and twenty- 
eight acres, and is one of the richest and most fertile in the bottom. His neat and sub- 
stantial residence was erected in the fall of 1870. 

Mr. Ker, like a large number of the most successful and substantial members of Ran- 
dolph County, had no resources with which to begin his career. Even after he had made a 
start everything he was worth, iji 1851, was swallowed up in the overflow of that year. Mr. 
Ker stands well as a man of honesty and integrity, and has won a good reputation as a 
prosperous and substantial farmer of enterprise and good management. He has made his 
way by industry and economy, and in carving a farm out of the wilderness growth with 
which its site was covered, he added not only to his own material prosperity, but given an 
example, which if it were more generally followed, would add greatly to the resources and 
wealth of the County. 



-41- 



The habitat of the Metchigamis was originally west of the Mississippi and they really 
became a part of the confederacy by adoption when they migrated to Prairie du Rocher 
between the years 1718—1723. They have impressed their name on the lake and state of 
Michigan. 

The habitat of the Kaskaskias was the region between Lake Michigan and Lake Peoria. 
They have impressed their name on the village and river of Kaskaskia and the mound in 
Clinton County. 

The habitat of the peorias was the region of Lake Peoria. They have impressed their 
name on the lake and city of Peoria. 

The habitat of the Cahokias was the region of Cahokia and the American Bottom. They 
have impressed their name on the village, creek, and mound of Cahokia. 

The habitat of the Tammarois was the region of southeastern Illinois. They have im- 
pressed their name on the town of Tamaroa. 

The Metchigamis were a small tribe of about one hundred. They have never made much 
of a name for themselves, for they were a peaceful lanquid people who were content with 
little, had no great ambitions and rather enjoyed having the French around. 

Hi&tory traces three small villages in the immediate area. Just as one comes into town 
on Route 155 from Ruma, there was a village at now where is a concrete bridge crossing a 
creek. There was a second village on the bluffs just south of town, and another to the west. 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 
MR. AND MRS. CHARLES HAUCK 

Charles Hauck, the well-known dealer in horses, mules and cattle, was born May 31, 
1864, inSte. Genevieve, Mo. He attended the parochial and public schools, and after leav- 
ing school became an apprentice of Louis Naumann, learning the butcher trade. He fol- 
lowed this trade in Ste. Genevieve until 1889, when he came to Prairie du Rocher with 
strong arms and a willing heart and started a meat market in this place. He bought cattle 
and did his own work slaughtering. Later he began dealing in horses and mules. He assis- 
ted in organizing the bank in 1906 and has been director since. 

On August 8, 1888, he married Miss Mary Sucher. One son, Archibald N., came to bless 
the home. 

Mr. Hauck is a Democrat, a trustee of the village for twenty-two years; director of the 
State'Bank of Prairie du Rocher, and trustee and treasurer of the Commons, and is rated 
as one of the substantial citizens of Prairie du Rocher. 111. 

He built a large home. In 1899 he bought 190 acres of fertile soil and built three big 
barns. Mr. Hauck, buying'stock for a radius of over 30 miles, is well and favorably known. 
He is a member of Fort Chartres 4.ssociation, and is also known to be a good supporter of 
the Catholic Church. 

Mrs. Hauck (nee Mary Sucher) was born on a farm near Ste. Genevieve September 19, 
1866, and is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Sucher of near Ste. Genevieve, Mo. 



-42- 










^'i^5»^| 


l^m 


^jfsmi 



Chas. Hauck 



Mrs. Chas. Hauck 




Residence of Chas. Hauck, Prairie du Rocher 




Chas. Hauck's Live Stock Barn, Prairie du Rocher 
-43- 



Early Crops and Flowers 

The crops of the early French settlers were cultivated by themselves and by slaves or 
indentured servants. The settlers of Prairie du Rocher were much given to the cultivation 
of small fruits, and flowers. Cherry, apple, peach and plum trees grew in every yard. Large 
beds of flowers were cultivated, and wild flowers were gathered in abundance to adorn 
homes and church. 

As late as 1825, when LaFayette visited Kaskaskia, Cahokia and St. Louis, the French 
inhabitants searched the woods for wild flowers and the banquet hall at Kaskaskia and 
the Jarrott Mansion at Cahokia, where he and his entourage were feasted and dined, were 
literally billed with flowers. 

There have really been three predominant crops in the county of what might be con- 
sidered the staple products that have engaged the attention of the agriculturist. In very 
early times, Indian corn was the principal product. Later, the castor bean was largely cul- 
tivated, and was considered a most profitable crop. Still later, wheat became largely 
planted, and continued as the best crop of the county. 

The principal varieties of timber are black oak, white oak, shell bark and pig nut hick- 
ory, sugar maples, linden, black gum, persimmon, red slippery and white elm, black ash 
red bud, dogwood, sassafras, cottonwood, sycamore, honey locust, hackberry, box elder, 
sweet-gum, white ash, swamp oak, burroak, white and black walnut, pecan and white maple. 
The timber served as fuel and was also used for building purposes. 



^^ 





KILLIAN COERVER 

Killian Coerver, the well-known miller, was born in Monroe County, near Waterloo, Il- 
linois, on April 10, 1861. He attended the parochial and public schools and also St. Vin- 
cent's College at Cape Girardeau, Mo. After leaving school he learned the printing trade, 
and then clerked in a dry goods business a short time, and at the age of 18 he started to 
work in the circuit clerk's office. From December, 1882, to 1886, he served as deputy 
county treasurer, when he was elected on the Democratic ticket as county treasurer of 
Monroe County and served from 1886 to 1890. On October 1, 1890, he went to work at the 
office of Koenigsmark Milling Company, Waterloo, 111., and remained there until 1906, when 
the Schoening-Koenigsmark Milling Company, Prairie du Rocher, 111., was incorporated 
and Mr. Coerver became a stockholder in this new company and was elected secretary- 
treasurer and general manager. In 1911 another company was incorporated, known as the 
Salt Lick Milling Company, Valmeyer, Illinois., of which Mr. Coerver was made general 
manager, and in 1913 he was elected secretary and treasurer of this corporation also. He 

-44- 



is a member of the Knights of Columbus of the East St. Louis, 111., Council. 

Mr. Coerver was married September 10, 1885, to Miss Mary Schuell of Waterloo, 111. 
Three children were born to this union: Fred H. Coerver, who at present is assistant sec- 
retary of the Prairie du Rocher corporation; Walter H. Coerver, who holds a similar posi- 
tion with the Valmeyer corporation; Amanda M. Coerver if the only daughter at home. 

Mr. Coerver is president of the Fort Chartres Association of Prairie du Rocher, 111., 
and is one of the leading men in the community. He is a staunch member of the Catholic 
Church. 

Mrs. Coerver was born in Waterloo, 111., March 24, 1864, the daughter of John Schuell, 
a well-known jeweler. 




Residence of Killian Coerver, 



Prairie du Rocher 



Horses and Cattle Introduced 






Horses and cattle were introduced in this vicinity very early. It is said the cattle came 
from Canada, while the horses were of Arabian strain and were brought from the Southwest 
by the Spaniards. It is not to be understood that the cultivation of the soil was of a very 
high order in 1772, and for some decades after. Utensils were crude. The plows were of 
wood and were usually drawn by oxen. The oxen were fastened together by the horns, by 
means of a flat piece of wood, not as later on yokes as was customary with the English. 
Wagons were usually small two-wheeled carts, made by the early settlers themselves, 
usually with little iron, and were pulled or pushed by hand, seldom by horses or oxen. 




-45- 



«*«]^«*«*««*«j0=3«'*«*****«**«*«*****«********** ***************** 

MR. AND MRS. FRANK H. MOSKOP 

Every community contains a few men of remarkable business ability, men who have ris- 
en to enviable success in some branch of trade. They deserve the public gratitude for 
their contribution to its prosperity no less than they win general admiration for the manner 
in which they have risen into eminence and won the hard struggle of life. Such a charac- 
ter is Mr. Moskop, the well-known manager of the Nanson Commission Company. 

He was born January 28. 1866, in Monroe City. Monroe County, being the son of a 
prominent farmer. After finishing the parochial and public schools he worked for a time for 
his father, being employed in operating a threshing machine. In 1895 he took employment 
in a flour mill at Harrisonville, 111., as engineer. Then, in 1900, he became the salesman 
fOT Southern Illinois of a Chicago firm that manufactured harvesting implements, a position 
which he held for three years. Then he removed to Prairie du Rocher. On January 1, 1903 
he became connected with the Nanson Commission Company, with which he has been af- 
filiated to this day. 

His marriage with Miss Elizabeth Stiegler occurred February 3, 1891. She was the 
daughter of a well-known farmer of Madonnaville, 111.; was born September 27, 1868, and 
lived at home until shortly before her marriage, when she lived with the Austin James 
family for nine years. She is .a member of the Altar Society. Mr. and Mrs. Moskop have four 
children - Charles P., Armin J., Louise M. and Cecelia M. 

The company of which Mr. Moskop is manager has grain elevators in Valmeyer, Mayes, 
Fults, Renault, Riley Lake, Jones Ridge, Raddle, Jacob, Wolf Lake, Grimsby and Prairie 
du Rocher. He owns, further, a palatial home on the city limits of the town. He was a 
member of the school board, on which he has served for nine years, and is an active Re- 
publican. His favorite sport is automobiling. He is a devoted member of the Church, and 
has been industrious in furthering its welfare. 

Early French Government 

In 1717 the Illinois country became a district of the French Province of Louisiana, 
and was governed by a major commandant, who, besides exercising military powers super- 
vised fur trading and agriculture. Other district officers were a doctor, a notary, and inter- 
preter, and a judge who administered the coutume de Paris or common law of Paris. Each 
village maintained a militia company, the captain of which was an agent of the district., 
judge and the major commandant. 

Although there was no legal basis for local government, that function was admirably 
performed by marguilliers (church wardens) elected by the parishioners of the Catholic 
churches of Cahokia, Kaskaskia and Prairie du Rocher. In addition to accounting of church 
property, the marguilliers passed acts concerning the time of harvest, fence repair, and in 
short the general welfare of the village. 

We refer on another page to the election of judges for the district. One of these judges, 
in later days, was M. Andrew Barbeau, who was present at the corner-stone laying of St. 
Joseph's Church, on July 19, 1858, when a new brick church was erected. 



-46- 




Jean St. Theresa Langlois 

It has been difficult to trace the line of descendants of this founder of Prairie du Ro- 
cher. In a document of December 30, 1740, we learn that the late Ettienne Langlois mar- 
ried Catherine Beaudrau, a widow, and had the following children; Marie Louise, who 
married Pierre Messenger; Marie Josefine, m. Louis Populus sieur de St. Photes; Toin- 
ette, m. Pierre Boucher de Monbrum sieur de Soudray; Francois, Louis, Girard, Perine and 
Auguste. These last five were minors. From other sources it is learned that Ettienne had 
two brothers, August who lived at Kaskaskia, and Louis. What relation the notary Pierre 
Langlois was to these is not apparent. He was married to Catherine Normand Labriere, 
and had two children, Pierre and Marie Louise. The latter signed a marriage contract with 
Pierre Lefebhve of Vincennes, October 9, 1785. Pierre Langlois died in 1789, and his 
widow took oath to the inventory of the property December 14, of that year. 

MR. AND MRS. HENRY I. BARBEAU 

The name of Barbeau, so well known in all Randolph County, was never more honorably 
borne than by the present head of the family. His ancestors have lived near Prairie du 
Rocher for generations. His father Henry Barbeau, who died in 1902, was born in the vi- 
cinity of the Commons. Both this gentleman and his wife, who lived until 1915, were well 
known through the length and breadth of the county. 



Henry I. Barbeau was born on the farm where he now resides, on February 1, 1863. He 
attended the parochial and public schools, and after this studied the science of farming 
under the effective tuition of his father. He remained on his father's farm and succeeded 
to the management of it when his father retired. This was in 1882. In the same year Mr. 

-47- 



Barbeau was married. 

Mrs. Barbeau was born in St. Louis, Mo., on April 22. 1861. Her father, whose name 
was McCaron, died soon after, when she came under the care of relatives in Prairie du 
Rocher. She received a good education, after which she taught school for three years near 
Ruma. Here she made the acquaintance of Mr. Barbeau, which resulted in their marriage. 
Seven children were born to them; Harry J., Frank W., Edward, Louis J., Leo A., George 
A., and Ella J. Barbeau. 

Besides the care of his large farm, which comprises 450 acres, Mr. Barbeau has been 
deeply interested in public matters. As superintendent of highways of Randolph County 
he earned the gratitude of all citizens. He is prominent in the affairs of the Democratic 
party and a member of the Knights of Columbus. Even these duties leave him some leisure 
for the pursuit of his favorite hoppy, which is automobiling. He must be an able man who 
can unite in one life such varied interests, and yet pursue each of them so successfully. 
Some men may be great in one thing, and do that one thing admirably, but it is the versa- 
tile man, the character who is large enough to find enjoyment in many things, and at the 
same time with ability to attain prominence in all of these activities, who may be said 
truly to stand forth from the multitude and constitute greatness. 




Scale of IkBles 



-48- 



Early Legal Transactions 

Reference is made in Kaskaskia records, as far back as 1778 to legal transactions. 
One pertains to the death of Antoine Cottinault, in which a scribe of the house of M. Bar- 
beau, captain of militia and commanding the said place of Prairie du Rocher, sought the 
privilege of being appointed administrator, and to have a guardian chosen for the minof 
children. This petition was resented by the spirited widow, and its prayer was, though 
first granted, soon resended. She was rather permitted to act as guardian for her children, 
and to enjoy, and make use of her goods whatsoever they may be without interference of 
anyone, whoever he may be. The property thus placed in her care included a tannery. A 
sign of the commercial life of Prairie du Rocher at so early a day in its history. 

Another reference is to Instruction to George Rogers Clark from Patrick Henry, Gov- 
ernor of Virginia, in which Clark is instructed to spare no pains to conciliate the affec- 
tion of the French and Indians, as their friendship was of great importance to the strugg- 
ling Union of States as then constituted. 

Another reference is to a strict command by Colonel Clark, prohibiting the sale of in- 
toxicants to Indians or Negro slaves, or to lend or rent to any red or black slaves their 
house, buildings, and courts, after sunset or for the night, for the purpose of dancing, 
feasting or holding nocturnal assemblies therein. 

Still another reference is found relative to an election at Prairie du Rocher held on 
May 17, 1779, at which election, two magistrates for the district were chosen. The first 
judge chosen was M. Jean Baptiste Barbau, captain of the militia, and the secohd judge 
chosen was'M. Antoine Duchafour du Louvieres, lieutenant of said militia. 
nnnnDnDDDnnnnnnnnnnnnnanDDnannnnnnnnnnDannnnDnnnnnDDnnannnDD 
MR. AND MRS. FRED J. WIERSCHEM 

One of our literary geniuses has remarked that the history of any locality is but the 
history of its great men. The destinies of splendid empires are shaped by the personali- 
ties of their rulers, and a whole people sometimes owes its prosperity to the energies of 
of one man, who stands at the head of the state. And in a community this principle is even 
more forcibly demonstrated, for here the thoughts of a few leaders permeate to the farth- 
est boundaries and shape the thoughts of the masses. Viewed in this light, how signifi- 
cant do the biographies of prominent men become! 

The subject of our sketch was born in Madonnaville, Monroe County, on August 3, 
1868. He was one of a family of fourteen children, whose father was John Wierschem, a 
known farmer. He attended both the parochial and the public schools, and then remained 
at home, assisting in the work of the farm until the death of the father in 1892. In that 
year Mr. Wierschem decided to become master of his own farm, and accordingly bought the 
farm of 65 acres situated on Rural Route #3, Prairie du Rocher, 111. This has been his 
home up to the present time. 

On November 30, 1893, he was married to Miss Zoe Thuillier. She was born in Septem- 
ber 1872, a daughter of the widely- known farmer, Emil Thuillier of Prairie du Rocher, and 
lived at home up to the time of her marriage. Her life has been notable for great devotion 
to the Church, which she is constantly helping. She belongs to the Altar Society. The 
four children of their marriage are Louis E., George A., Robert J., and Augusta E. Wier- 
schem. 

In 1912 Mr. Wierschem entered public life, when he was elected to the office of road 
commissioner. This important office he has filled with that industry and devotion to public 
welfare which has been the guiding policy of his whole life. 

-49- 



ANTOINE BLAIS 

The old town of Prairie du Rocher has undergone, perhaps, fewer changes than any 
other locality of Randolph County. Its foundation dates back to the early part of the pre- 
vious century. Its growth has not been rapid. The French population of which, its inhabi- 
tants were at first entirely composed, has here retained its distinctive character more 
closely than elsewhere, and a considerable proportion of the present residents of the 
village are descendants of the families who were identified with its history a century ago. 

The Blais family is one of the oldest in the town. The first of the name to make his 
residence in Prairie du Rocher was Blais, a Frenchman whose ancestors 

had emigrated from France to Canada, some time before the coming of to 

the Illinois country. He devoted himself to the quiet pursuit of farming, the common occu- 
pation of the inhabitants, and was a leading man of the village. He reached an extreme 
old age, and died in the year 1783. One of his sons was Antoine Blais, who married Ter- 
esse De Choche, Gabriel De Choc he, the father of the lady in question, and the grandfa- 
ther of the present Antoine Blais, was a native of France, and an old resident of Prairie 
du Rocher. Antoine and Teresse Blais had been born and brought up in Prairie du Rocher. 
They had six children, of whom only four grew to maturity. Antoine, who received his fa- 
ther's name, was next to the oldest in birth, and is now the only surviving one of the fam- 
ily in his generation, all his brothers and sisters being dead. 

Antoine Blais was born in Prairie du Rocher; on the twenty-seventh of August, 1809. 
He was brought up in the village, and received his early education in the subscription 
schools held in the town. At the age of seventeen he left home, and went to Ste. Gene- 
vieve, Mo.; and there learned the trade of blacksmith. Two years after he was in St. Louis, 
Mo., a place at that time of small size in comparison with its present proportions, and 
here he followed his trade. He went to St. Louis in 1828, and remained there four years, 
till 1832. At this latter date he returned to Prairie du Rocher, put up a shop, and engaged 
in the blacksmithing business. In July of the same year his marriage took place to Miss 
Lucy Conner, a daughter of Henry Conner, one of the early Sheriff's of Randolph County, 
United States Marshall under the administration of John Quincy Adams, a prominent Whig 
politician, and a leading man in public affairs. Mr. Blais' residence, for several years, in 
Prairie du Rocher was unmarked by any event of unusual importance. Fourteen years after 
his marriage, in 1846, his wife died. 

In the year 1849, Mr. Blais formed one of a party, numbering also among its members 
Drs. Smith and McDonald, and several others from Prairie du Rocher and vicinity, which 
set out for California to swell the throng of enterprising and adventurous men which that 
year crowded the Pacific Coast, incited by the hopes of furtune held out by the wonderful 
stories of the golden wealth of California. The party was six months in making the over- 
land journey, beginning the trip in April and arriving in California the following October. 
An ox team carried their outfit, and their progress was necessarily slow. Mr. Blais at 
once went to work mining gold upon his reaching the mones. He continued in California till 
1851, and at that time had succeeded in accumul_ating about five thousand dollars, meet- 
ing with better fortune than the average of California adventurers. In 1857 he sailed from 
San Francisco on his homeward journey. Crossing the Isthmus he reached New Orleans, 
where (with little doubt, through the rascality of the keeper of the hotel) he and his part- 
ner were robbed of the greater portion of their hard-earned money, while at dinner. Mr. 
Blais returned to Prairie du Rocher, and there engaged in the merchandising business, 
buying out the store of a friend who was contemplating a visit to Europe. A few months 
after his return from California, Mr. Blais married his second wife, whose maiden name was 

-50- 



Mary M. Phegley, the daughter of Abraham Phegley, a native of Kentucky. 

Mr. Blais has since been engaged in the mercantile business at Prairie du Rocher. His 
partner was Mr. J. D. Sprigg, who was long known as one of the active business men of 
the place. In 1860, Mr. Sprigg, retired from the business with the purpose of devoting his 
attention to agriculture. Mr. Blais purchased his interest in the concern and from that time 
carried on the business alone till 1866, when a partnership was again formed between Mr. 
Blais and Mr. Sprigg, the latter 'having grown tired of the monotony of farming. Mr. Sprigg 
died in 1871, and Mr. P. W. Unger took his place in the firm, since which time the busi- 
ness had been carried on with little change. The store, the property of Mr. Blais, in which 
the business of the firm is carried on, is the largest and most commodious building for 
the purpose in Prairie du Rocher, and was built in 1870. Mr. Blais' second wife died on 
the thirty-first of December, 1866. He was married for the third time, in 1867, to Mrs. 
Margery Conner, the widow of his brother-in-law by his first wife. 

With the exception of less than a decade, Mr. Blais* long life of sixty-six years has 
been spent in Prairie du Rocher, of which he is now one of the oldest residents. He is fa- 
vorably known throughout the County as a business man of reliability and enterprise. He 
commenced his career without a dollar, and his accumulations have been the result of his 
individual efforts. He started out in his political life with a vote for Andrew Jackson, for 
President, in 1832. Afterward Mr. Blais became a member of the Whig party, voting for 
Harrison, Clay, and other Whig candidates. On the decline of the Whig organization, Mr. 
Blais united with the Democracy, and has since continued to act with the Democratic 
Party. 



Cens us 

A Census of the early inhabitants of Prairie eu Rocher was made by Commandant 
MaCarty of Fort de Chartres in 1752. He listed this at 101. 

The census held in 1787 listed the names of 16 inhabitants who signed the register for 
themselves and male children, making a total of 62 registrants; and six inhabitants who 
did not personally sign, and their male children, making a total of 17, thus showing a 
grand total of 79 males at this time. 

The population of Prairie du Rocher in 1825 was 287 whites, 52 slaves, and 13 free 
Negroes. Apparently, when the masters of the slaves died, the slaves were granted their 
freedom. 

In 1850 the population had grown to 500. 

An early Messenger of the area states that; "At the present the parish numbers 350 
families-1600 souls." This of course included the local farmers who did not actually live 
within the city limits. 

In 1940 the population was reported to be 540; sometime after this (1950) the popula- 
tion appeared to number 700. 

Today the population fluctuates between 700 and 750. 



-51- 




EDUCATION 

Since they were rather uniform in pattern, it will doubtless yield a clearer picture if 
the common points of the pioneer schools are given rather than giving short references to 
each one. 



Nearly all of the first school houses were built of unhewed or round logs and had 
roofs made of clapboards that had been split from some convenient oak of large size. 
These boards were generally two feet or more long, about eight inches wide, and were 
(rften laid without the use of nails, poles being used on each course to hold them down. 
These weight poles were fastened by pegs or tied bark and withes. Altogether it was a 
serviceable and durable roof, even though one could "see daylight" through it. 

Heat came from a large fireplace. Where stone was convenient, the fireplace might be 
built of it. More often it was built of logs with a clay or stone lining. The chimneys, gen- 
erally "stick and clay", were double walled pens thoroughly plastered, inside and out, 
with clay. Weathering often caused this clay to crumble away, exposing the sticks. It was 
not an unusual thing to see where this had occured, and fire had burned holes in the chim- 
ney. Both fireplace and chamney were outside the building proper. These fireplaces were 
not in anywise puny affairs - - - they often acconodated cuts of wood four feet or more 
long. In many cases, the teacher agreed, as part of his work, to cut the necessary fire- 
wood. The hearth was' of stone or filled-in earth. 




St. Joseph's School, Prairie du Rocher 



-52- 



When not of earth, the floors were generally of puncheon construction. In making a 
puncheon floor, slabs were split from a log, the edges straightened and the upper surface 
smothed by use of broadaxe or adze. This method of construction did not produce a very 
tight or smooth floor, though it was a substantial one. 

The ceiling, when present, was generally made of boards split from some forest tree. 
They were laid upon ceiling joists, made of poles that might occasionally be somewhat 
smoothed by use of a broadaxe. These ceilings were often not more than 7 feet high. 
Smoke from the fireplace soon gave it a brownish tint that gradually deepened as one 
moved nearer the fire. In numerous cases the ceilings would be omitted, and one gazed 
directly at the roof. 

The inside walls were often left with only the "chink and daubing" finish. Coat racks 
were made by boring small holes in the logs and driving pegs into them. On these the 
shawls,' coonskin caps, and homespun clothing were hung. Larger shelves were placed at 
convenient places about the room. On one of these shelves the wooden water bucket and 
drinking gourd would be found. Other shelves of proper size and heights were arranged 
for writing desks at which the pupils stood with quill pen and oak gall-copperas ink to do 
their writing on foolscrap paper. The room would not be complete without two pegs above 
and behind the teacher's desk. On these two pegs the switches and pointers reposed, for 
corporal punishment was the rule of the dav. 



Former School for Black Children 




The idea that the window area of a schoolroom should be one-fifth or more of the floor 
area had not been born. One or two were considered as sufficient. There are recorded in- 
stances of a log being omitted on one side of the building in lieu of a window. In winter 
the light of the fireplace helped some. Altogether the school room was dimly lit. 

Thus far the forest immediately about the building has furnished the materials used. 
In the matter of seats this still held true, for the benches were generally from logs split 
in half. The flat side of the log was smoothed by axe of adze. With a large auger, holes 
were bored in the rounded side of the half logs, and large pegs were fitted to serve as legs 
for the bench. In the early school, desks for the pupils were seldom seen. 

Writing paper was comparatively rare. Slates were used for "doing sums" and for some 
writing. Even at that they were not so common and 'may I borrow a slate' was frequently 
heard. From time to time it was necessary to clean the writing from these slates. In order 
to facilitate the process, a pupil would spit rather liberally upon the slate. Occasionally 
this saliva was removed with a rag. Generally the palm of the hand was used for rubbing, 
and any surplus moisture was mopped off with the sleeve. This is certainly not a very 
attractive description, but it really happened that way.. 

Lunch was generally brought to school in baskets. Boys and girls sat on different 
sides of the house. Some of the mors careful teachers insisted upon pupils cleaning their 
boots and shoes before coming into the building. High top leather boots were sUndard for 
boys. Girls wore high top shoes. In summer most of the boys and girls went barefoot. Head 

-53- 



Clan of School Children — 
About 1880 




Class ot*1936 

Prairia du Rocher 

High School 



-54- 



lice and scabies were frequently to be found. 

Bullpen, wolf on the ridge, stink base, hat-ball, old sow, cat, sling dutch, lap jacket, 
one and over, and move up, games almost unknown now, were the prevailing ones for boys. 
Girls were sometimes admitted to a gentle game of cat or wolf on the ridge, but more often 
they had to be content with games like ante over or as it was sometimes called 'andy' 
over, London Bridge, Lemonade, go in and out the window, drop the handkerchief, skipping 
rope or some adaptation of a singing game. 

I 




To lend a little variety to school life an occasional spelling bee was held, a debating 
club or literary society met, or a singing school was held at night. The pupil who could 
'spell the school down' was much admired. The singing school offered a bit of culture 
and a chance for the young people to do a reasonable amount of courting. 

Textbooks were rather scarce, but a spelling book was considered indispensable. There 
were some reading texts, but the opportunity for selection was generally limited. Bibles, 
such copies of the classics as were to be had, books of history, along with almost all 
printed matter that came to hand, were used. Arithmetic texts were not at all plentiful, 
and one still finds nanuscript forms of such books used in the first schools. Many sub- 
jects, considered indispensable now, were then unknown. Art consisted of a few pictures 
slyly produced by pupils who were careful to avoid the teacher's attention while doing this 
work. An occasional teacher with some ability to sing had singing lessons. Physiology 
and hygiene were practically unknown. When such texts as were then used are found, they 
call forth broad smiles by their statements. Grammer texts were very formal and were used 
only by the more advanced pupils. 'Language' was practically unknown. Geography was 
reduced to a little more than an outline. Civics was hardly known, while manual arts and 
handicrafts lay far ahead. 



-55- 







The grades as we think of them today had not come. One progressed in school deter- 
mined almost solely by the individual. Technique for teaching had not been formulated. 
Then, as now, an occasional capable teacher with a vision became the inspiration of the 
the youngsters. On the average the schoolmasters were a strict and domineering sect, ad- 
hering closely to limited knowledge that was theirs. Generally they were active practi- 
tioners of the 'no licking, no larpin' creed. Often the teacher was an itinerant, staying 
only a term or so while he boarded around and then moving on about as mysteriously as 
he had come. To know that the pupil was studying it was sometimes required that they 
study aloud. The teacher, like a trained choir leader, could select and listen to any voice 
among the babble. 




Despite the limited equipment, the teacher's cultural attainments were above those of 
most of the other young men of the community, hence, some young lady, often a pupil, 



-56- 



selected him as a likely prospect for a husband. Being human, he was generally a willing 
victim, and 'itinerant' days were ended. 

Most teachers were men. An occasional girl or woman, endowed with unusual tact or 
daring, became a successful teacher, but they were exceptions. The overgrown and often 
rude boys generally required the brawn of a man to 'teach' them. 



^^^t'^ffN 





Since an organized free school system was not in general operation, these early ones 
were often 'subscription' schools, the teacher being paid by the parents of the pupils at- 
tending. 

It is interesting to note that formal Education in the true sense of the word, for the 
area of Illinois actually began in the area of Prairie du Roc her, by the later village of St. 
Anne when in June 16, 1659, the first Catholic Bishop of Quebec arrived in the person of 
Francois de Montmorency de Lavel, with the title of Bishop of Petraea. Quebec numbered 
hardly 500 inhabitants, and the whole of Canada perhaps 2200 souls. Lavel organized a 
complete system of education: primary, technical, and classical. His seminary and prepara- 
tory seminary trained young men for the prieshood. In 1678 he founded an industrial 

-57- 



school near later St. Anne to provide the colony with skilled farmers and artisans. His 
seminary developed in the course of centuries into the now famous Laval University. He 
was a man of undoubted patriotism, and threw the full weight of his powerful personality 
into the balance whenever there was question of proper administration, progress of the 
colony and its defense against the marauding savage. 




Parochial School Built In 1885 

At an early date in history, Illinois was assured of strong support for the education of 
its youth. In 1785, only two years after the thirteen states had signed a treaty of peace 
with Great Britain, Congress passed a law for the great unorganized territory west of New 
York and north of the Ohio River, of which Illinois was a part. This established support 
for the public schools. 

The law divided the land into townships of thirty-six sections each, each section to 
comprise 640 acres. Everything earned on one section out of the thirty-six was to pay for 
the public schools. Two years later this became part of the Northwest Ordinance, which 
also declared for freedom of religion and excluded slavery from this territory. 




Music Room addition to early Parochial School. Choir, Mayme Donjon, Louise DeWitt. 
Augusta Chaudet, Nora LaRose, Zella Chaudet, Mary Mudd, P. G. Ehresmann. Organist. 

When the new settlers arrived, they built one-room schoolhouses. Some were on the 

-58- 



open prairie, and children had to walk miles to attend school. Besides, they had to help 
feed pigs and get the cows into pasture before they left for school in the mornings, and 
after school had to bring the cows back to the barn. Yet the farm children went to school 
as long as they could, for they wished to get an education. 

According to publication #8 of the Illinois Historical Library, education in Prairie du 
Rocher was first recorded as early as August 1816 when Benjamin Sturgess gives notice 
"That he has opened a school at Prairie du Rocher, where he will teach the usual bran- 
ches of English Education, viz: Writing, Reading and Commpn Arithmetic, also English 
Grammer, Geography, Surveying, Astronomy, Latin and Greek languages. He thinks Prairie 
du Rocher is as healthy as any place in the American Bottom," which may have been un- 
derstood at the time as not a very improbable statement. He declares that "good board 
can be obtained at moderate terms and so forth." 

It cannot be exactly determined who many of the early teachers were, or where they 
held these classes. By 1820 Charles McNabb of one of the first Americans to settle in 
Prairie du Roc her, was teaching school in English. (During the pastorate of Father Charles 
Krewet Two-thirds of the population of four hundred were French, German and English). 
In the 1850' s a small frame school of one room was built almost directly opposite the 
present church. An additional room was added to it in 1931. The parochial school was 
opened in the early sixties of the last century in this building. Under the supervision of 
Father Krewet and at a cost of $5000 the large brick building which took the place of the 
smaller frame school was erected in 1885 directly across the street from the rectory. It 
accomodated 175 children. In 1885 two lay teachers and three Sisters of the Most Precious 
Blood constituted the faculty. In 1893 a tornado damaged the. school building to the ex- 
tent of $1,300. 



Peter Gregory Ehresmann was born January 22, 1872, to Peter Ehresmann and Catherine 
Ruegemer of Richmond Minnesota. He attended the College of St. Francis in Wisconsin 
and graduated from St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota. He taught school in 
Vincennes, Indiana, about two years before coming to Prairie du Rocher. He arrived here 
by boat in September, 1900 and taught here until his retirement as teacher in 1935. He 
continued as organist in St. Joseph's Catholic Church until 1942. He served the commun- 
ity as City Clerk from 1937 to 1957. He died July 17, 1959. 





P. G. Ehresmann 
-59- 



Mr. Ehresmann was succeeded by Mr. Albin Schrage from Clinton County. 

Following Mr. Schrage's resignation, Mr. Harry Dearworth, a former teacher of the local 
school, was persuaded to return to 'Rocher and "head" the school in 1946. 

In 1959 Sister Eustacia Goeckner was appointed principal; followed by Albert F. Henn- 
rich in 1961. 

In 1951, a school building was erected by the church at a reported cost of $275,000. In 
1959 two temporary class rooms were added. 

The cornerstone was laid at the present school in early 1971. The new building has a 
present capacity of 125. Cost was reported at 8140,000. A canapy connects this school 
with the church-owned building. 



F^J^fH** 



n^3^ji£m 








School Children Celebrating 1971 Rendezvous, Prairie du Rocher School, Sept.. 1971 



MR. AND MRS. JOSEPH J. HOEF 

Mr. Hoef is one of those citizens who have come to our shores, leaving their native 
country, and seeking a new home in a new world. In early times all of our people crossed 
the seas, "but their hardihood and enterprise has all but been forgotten. Those who emi- 
grated in more recent times serve to remind us of the dangers and privations attending the 
long voyage from another continent. Mr. Hoef was born in Cobenz, Germany, on March 16, 
1851. He came to America with his parents in 1865 and settled in Madonnaville. Here he 
attended the parochial and public schools, and after finishing his schooling helped on the 
farm of his parents. The father died in 1878, the mother in 1892, on August 17th. 

But previous to this Mr. Hoef had taken a farm for himself. In 1883 he rented 54 acres 
of fertile bottom land near Prairie du Rocher. This soil, with the careful management which 
he gave it, yielded abundantly and brought him such prosperity that he purchased it in a 
short time. In 1889 he bought land adjoining to his and became the possessor of 240 
acres. The large farm, situated on Rural Route #3, has been his home to the present time 
and has become a perfect farm in every sense as a result of his industry and prudence. 

Mr. Hoef was married in 1884, on October 28, to Miss Elizabeth Crewet. His wife was 
a daughter of Nicholaus Crewet, the organist and school teacher of Saint Viett. She was 
educated in the public school and academy in Buechlein, Germany, and after her father's 
death in 1868 she came to America to be housekeeper for her uncle the Reverend Crewet 
of Prairie du Long. She remained in this capacity until her marriage. Her work for the 

-60- 



Church has been notable, and she is a member of the Altar Society. The children of Mr. 
and Mrs. Hoef are Mary A., Katherina W., and Elizabeth M., the eldest being the wife of 
George Eicheuser. 

Mr. Hoef is a Democrat, a member of the Catholic Knights of America and an ardent 
autoist. He is a faithful worker for the Church. 




State Bank of Prairie du Rocher 



T he Commons 



The following article was taken from the Red Bud Review on March 2, 1901. 

"By reason of a bequest in 1730. inhabitants are now exempt from taxation." 

The village of Prairie du Rocher, 111., has a fund that is unique. This little town, which 
is located in Randolph County a few miles southwest of Red Bud, and not far from the 
Mississippi River, was officially founded in 1722. 

What were known as the "Common Fields" of Prairie du Rocher were granted to the 
village in 1730 by Jean St. Theresa Langlois. 

The early French settlers held the possession of their lands in common. A tract of 
land was fixed upon a common field, in which all the inhabitants were interested. To each 
villager was assigned a portion, the size depending upon the size of his family. Fixed 
times were assigned for plowing, sowing, harvesting and other agricultural occupations. 

The land was usually granted to each villager in long, narrow strips, partly, it is said, 
from an old custom in France, and perhaps to insure more efficient production against the 
Indians and other foes while engaged in the arduous work of tilling the land. A fence sur- 
rounded the whole enclosure, but the individual lots were not divided from each other. 

-61- 



Besides the "common field", another tract of land was set apart as commons. All the 
villagers had free access to this place as a pasture for their stock. From this they also 
drew their supply of fuel. 

In 1852 a portion of this land was leased for ninety-nine years, and a part of it was 
sold. Several thousand dollars were realized from these transactions, and the fund is now 
controlled by a special committee of villagers. The money was loaned for a long time to 
the farmers of Randolph County at interest payable annually. 

"From this source the village derives so much money that the six hundred inhabitants 
are almost wholly exempt from taxation, all because of an idea more than one hundred and 
seventy years old of sharing things in "common". 

One half of the common fields were sold at general auction in 1852. The lands sold for 
prices ranging from 1.50 to 4.00 per acre. On May the twenty-first, 1859, there had been 
$11,856.40 accumulated in the commons fund. In 1851, F. W. Brickey was elected Chair- 
man of the board of trustees for the commons fund and also Chairman of the school board. 

The election for common trustees are held, every two years; first Monday in April. 

Present board members are; Lavern Doiron-sec. treas., Arnold Steibel-Pres. Floyd 
Meniere, Phillip DeRouse, and Ted Fadler-trustees. 

At present, there is about $52,000 principle which yields approximately $2,003 which 
is used by the board of education for the children. 




St. Luke's Mills of Prairie du Rocher 

MR. AND MRS. PAULIN DIDIER 

Our country, which has been called the melting-pot of nations, has received citizens 
from every quarter of the known world. All races and peoples have sent their representa- 



-62- 



tives to swell the numbers of our population. And of all these nations none has done more 
for America than France. Who can ever forget that it was the courageous Frenchmen who 
first penetrated the wilds of the new world, and, not content with a mere sailing along the 
coast, ascended its rivers and explored the interior of an unknown and dreaded wilder- 
ness? They settled vast areas such as the Mississippi Valley, which was for centuries 
a New France. Nor could the subsequent waves of emigration from the eastern states en- 
tirely obliterate this French civilization, which survives to this day in many names and 
customs found throughout the Middle West. Mr. Paulin Didier was one of those Frenchman 
who came to Illinois during the last century. 

He was born in France on December 26, 1845, and emigrated with his parents in 1847. 
The family settled in Cahokia, then a thriving city. With the decline of importance of 
Cahokia, the elder Didier left that place in 1854 and secured a farm in the vicinity of 
Prairie du Rocher, 111. Here they remained, and here the parents died in 1 888. The son, 
who had lived with his parents all this time, now came into possession of the farm, which 
consisted of 85 acres. Under his care the soil yielded plentifully, and as a result his 
prosperity increased, until he became known as one of the most successful farmers of the 
district. He died a wealthy man, his death occurring in 1907 on the eleventh of March. 

Mrs. Didier was before her marriage, Miss Leonline Bige. Her father was the well known 
Lawrence Gige, a farmer of Prairie du Rocher. She was born here on March 10, 1858, and 
had her education in the parochial school. Upon leaving school she lived in the home of 
her parents, where she became a master of the various household arts and learned all that 
must be known by the farmer's wife, which is indeed not a little. It was her perfection in 
this respect which contributed much toward the success of her husband. No children were 
born to this couple. Since the death of her husband Mrs. Didier has continued to reside 
upon the farm, which has been rented. She reserves a part of the farm for the raising of 
chickens, which is her favorite occupation, and to which she devotes all of her time. 

W. A. BLOW AND JOSEPH BLOW 

Among the prominent inhabitants of Prairie du Rocher who are natives of the locality is 
Mr. W. A. Blow. He was born September 9, 1860, on a farm near the town. He finished the 
public school and then became the right-hand man of his father, a place which he occupied 
for twenty-seven years. Finally, in 1887, he rented his own farm. This land became his 
property in the short space of six years, in 1893, and included 70 acres, but was not large 
enough to satisfy the ambitious owner, who in the course of time more than doubled it. At 
the present time he is the proprietor of 155 acres of splendid farm land, situated on the 
bottom, on Rural Route #4. His parents are now dead, his father having died in April 1912 
and his mother in April 1914. 

On May 15, 1889, Mr. Blow was married to Miss Lucy Gressinger, a daughter of the 
widely-known farmer John Gressinger. She was born on August 5, 1868, near Prairie du 
Rocher, and lived at home until her marriage. Her most prominent characteristic is her 
activity in behalf of the Church. The children are Perry W. , Edgar G., Augusu E., and Rosa 
A. Blow. Mr. Blow has lately become interested in stock raising, which is beginning to 
supplant general farming on his grounds, and spends his leisure time in his automobile. 
He is a familiar personage for many miles about his home. The Church has often had oc- 
casion to show him gratitude for his faithfulness. 

Mr. Joseph Blow was an emigrant to America, although he came to our country at a very 
early age. His first place of settlement was the city of St. Louis, Mo. Here he lived until 
his marriage and then removed to the vicinity of Prairie du Rocher, becoming a farmer. He 
is remembered as a very successful farmer. In fact, anything which he undertook prospered. 
He died February 12, 1912. His wife (nee Lala Dapron) followed him in death on April 8, 
1914. 

-63- 



Of Genera I I nterest 

Many old towns and historic locations lay claim to the statement "Washington slept 
here". Well, Prairie du Rocher cannot make this boast; however, a group of 'Rocher traps- 
imn along with a detachment from Fort de Chartres marked a first when they captured the 
good General along with his soldiers at Fort Necessity. The events leading to this "only 
capture" of our first President is worthy of note. 

Early in the year 1750, news came to Fort Chartres that the English was urging the 
Northern Indian tribes to wage war on the French settlers. This prompting came to a head 
in 1753. In the spring of that year, the Marquis Dequosno, Governor of Canada, sent an 
expedition to the valley of the Ohio to assure its possession for the French by Actual mil- 
itary occupation. Marin was in charge and the French built Forts Prosq'ilo, loBoouf, Mao- 
hault and Vonango in Pennsylvania. The English didn't like this, and Dinwiddle, Governor 
of Virginia, sent George Washington, a twenty-one year old Adjutant General of the Vir- 
ginia militia, to give the French, who found on this territory which France claimed be- 
cause of discovery by Lasalle, notice to move. Washington had a force of about two hun- 
dred men and had been instructed to build a fort at the Fork of the Ohio, near the present 
site of Pittsburg. Contrecoeur, a French officer, heard the English intended to take pos- 
session of this important strategic location, so he immediately built a stockade there 
which he called Fort Duquesne. 

Contrecoeur, as soon as he completed work on Fort Duquesne, sent one of his officers. 
Coulon de Jumonville with thirty men "to bear summons to any Englishmen he might find 
in the valley warning them to retire from the French side of the high mountain range (AUe- 
ghenies nor disturb the English in their territory, as the French were "Wishing to main- 
tain the harmony which prevailed between the two crowns." 

On the morning of May 28, 1754 Washington was led by his Indian guides to Jumon- 
ville's camp. The French were taken by surprise and cried; "To arms!" Washington or- 
dered his men to: "Fire!" That started off the bloody and unnecessary "French and 

Indian War." 

Jumonville and eight of his men fell; one man escaped to take the news of the attack to 
Fort Duquesne, the rest of the French were taken prisoners. 

It so happened that, Coulon de Villiers, a brother of Jumonville, and a Captain of troops 
at Fort de Chartres, was making a delivery of supplies to Fort Duquesne from Fort de 
Chartres. He asked Contrecoeur for permission to avenge his brother's death, which the 
French considered a murder, as there was no declaration of war between England and 
France at that time. 

Washington had retreated to Great Meadows (in what is now Pennsylvania) where he re- 
ceived reinforcements and had hastily built Fort Necessity. 

Coulon de Villiers with the troops that had come with him from Fort de Chartres and 

troops from Fort Duquesno about 500 in all surrounded the Fort on June 28th, 

1754, Washington signed the artcles of capitulation on July 3rd, 1754. And that surrender 
to Captain Coulon de Villiers of Fort de Chartres is the only one ever made by our Own 
General GEORGE WASHINGTON. 

TWO HISTORIC EVENTS 

Two hundred and fifty years ago the village of Prairie du Rocher was founded. That 
was an historic event, worthy of some record. Two hundred and fifty years ago a book was 

-64- 



written, and published, which has been a first-seller ever since, and has been re-published 
countless times, and read by tens of millions. Its title is known throughout all the world, 
it is "Robinson Crusoe." It was written by Daniel Defoe, an Englishman, who founded his 
story upon the experiences of Alexander Selkirk, a castaway on the lonely island of Juan 
Fernandez. We link these two historic events, in this publication, because of the striking 
fact that both were born in the same year. 




Historic Brickey Home at Prairie du Rocher 
The Br i ckey House 

Nearly every town has an old house with an interesting story. Prairie du Rocher has 
several, one of which was the Brickey house. Unoccupied for many years, this large three- 
story, square-framed house with its wide porches, stained glass, shuttered windows, and 
mansard roof attracted the attention of the most casual visitor to the village. It stood a- 
mong large trees oh a generous plot of ground below the bluff, it silently proclaimed the 
the hospitality that once was known there. The fine iron fence that enclosed the grounds 
emphasized its air of detachment. 




John Brickey 
-65- 



To know the story of t'his old house one must go to the Chicago of the late 1860's and 
learn something of another building that Uranus H. Crosby built there in 1865. Crosby, a 
wealthy distiller, decided to contribute to the culture of Chicago by erecting a magnifi- 
cent opera house. W. W. Boyington, a noted architect, designed a splendid structure that 
Crosby had constructed on the corner of Dearborn and Washington at a cost of more than 
$600,000 -- a great sum for that day. It quickly became a showplace of the pre-fire city. 

Chicago was proud of the new building. Crosby quickly learned, however that owning 
an opera house was expensive. In 1867, less than two years after its completion, he an- 
nounced that he was broke and also expressed an intention of disposing of the opera house 
and 305 works of art through a nationwide lottery. 

Elaborate preparations for the event were made. Some 210,000 tickets -- each of them 
numbered and bearing a nice engraving of the opera house -- were printed and offered for 
sale at $5.00 each. 

These were sold within a few weeks, and on January 21, 1867, drawings were made in 
the opera house before a large and interested audience. The number drawn for the grand 
prize was 586000, and the owner of the winning ticket was Abraham Hagerman Lee of 
Prairie du Rocher. 

There being no telegraph in Prairie du Rocher, a notice that Lee was the winner was 
sent to a law firm in St. Louis and relayed from there to Belleville. From Belleville, a 
messenger was dispatched on horseback to notify Mr. Lee. Before this messenger reached 
him, however, two men who had seen a news report of his good fortune in a St. Louis pa- 
per hastened to Prairie du Rocher to relate the good news or perhaps with hopes of doing 
some fast trading. 

The two men found Lee reading to his sick wife. Neighbors soon heard the news and 
hastened to offer their congratulations. The messenger from Belleville arrived later in the 
evening. It is said that Mr. Lee answered the door in a long nightgown, and the messenger 
bowed low before him as he delivered the official notice. None of the messages, official 
or otherwise, seemed to disturb or excite Mr. Lee unduly. He even indicated a slight vex- 
ation and remarked, "I wish they had to swallow the opera house." But he carefully guard- 
ed his ticket while he continued to care for his ailing wife. 

A few days later, when his wife's health had improved somewhat, Lee went to Chicago 
to meet Crosby, requesting at the outset that publicity be avoided. Lee indicated a will- 
ingness to sell his claim for $200,000. Crosby accepted the offer and paid that amount to 
Lee who quietly went back to Prairie du Rocher. Crosby once more was in full possession 
of the opera house, and he had profited to the extent of about $600,000 from the sale of 
lottery tickets. 

Shortly after his return from Chicago, Lee built the residence that recently stood. Two 
years later he died in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the house was bought by F. W. Brickey, Lee's 
partner in the operation of the Prairie du Rocher grist snd flour mill. Since that time it has 
been known as the Brickey House, noted for its hospitality and sociability and as a local 
center of culture. 

Before his death, Brickey expressed a wish that if none of his children chose to make 
it their home, the house should be given to some charitable organization. In the event no 
use was made of it, Brickey asked that the home remain unoccupied or be dismantled. 

The Brickey mansion long abandoned but still reflecting past glory, burned to the ground 
early Sunday morning, April 5th, 1970, ending a story which began with a lottery ticket 
more than a yundred years ago. 

-66- 



The fire was discovered at 2:45 a.m. when already out of control. Prairie du Rocher 
firemen concentrated their efforts in protecting business places across the street. Blaz- 
ing sparks and debris were carried more than a block by the strong draft. 

The Red Bud Fire Co. was alerted and arrived in Prairie du Rocher about 3:15 a.m. and 
remained on stand-by for an hour. The last of the frame structure fell about 3:45 a.m. 



During the 1930's, industry finally arrived in Prairie du Rocher in the forms of two 
quarries. The Prairie du Rocher Quarry owned by Al Stotz, and the Columbia Quarry. These 
quarries mine limestone and rock from the same bluffs that the French used to construct 
the new fort in 1750. It may be noted that the quarries are the largest, oldest operating 
lime-rock quarries in the United States. 

The Cemetery at 'Rocher is the oldest Cemetery in continuous use in all of mid Ameri- 
ca. It started about 1722 as the Church yard surrounding the old log chapel of St. Joseph's. 
It is the only parish and Community Cemetery the town has ever had, and burials have 
taken place in it continuously for over two centuries. Here lie buried Jean St. Theresa 
Longlois, the founder of Prairie du Rocher. Likewise buried in what once was the sanc- 
tuary of the old church, are the bodies of Father Luc Callet (died 1765) and Father Jo- 
seph Gagnon (died 1755) both were pastors of St. Anne at Fort Chartres, originally buried 
there and transferred to Prairie du Rocher in 1786. About 1935 all graves were levelled 
and footstones were buried, so that today this ancient burial ground presents a beautiful 
sigh with it's smooth green lawn and a contrast of varied colored markers. 

On September 8, 1971 A.D. a memorial was erected "To mark the site of the sanctu- 
ary of the original church of St. Joseph and to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the 
first baptism recorded in the parish September 8, 1721. St. Joseph church and cemetery 
were located in the middle of the first village of Prairie du Rocher. Here lie buried the 
remains of Michigamea Indians, early French adventurers, black slaves, victims of wars, 
massacres, floods, and plagues. Veterans of all wars of the United States and Pastors and 
parishners^ of St. Joseph Church of three centures - May they rest with God." 




Until 1800, Prairie du Rocher was a completely French village. The French had made 
no great improvements in the village, but they were content and went about their farming 
in a carefree manner. They managed to live in peace and harmony with the Indians. When 
with the Indians, the French acted like Indians, and when the Indians were with the French, 
they tried to act like Frenchmen. This may have been what impressed Christian Schultz 
when he visited the village in 1810. He describes Prairie du Rocher as, 

"Being a continuous prairie of the richest soil, ... an old French settlement of about 

-67- 



forty families, who are all Roman Catholics, and support a confessor and a chapel of their 
own. This village is built upon a very contracted scale, the streets being barely twenty 
feet wide . . . The people of this settlement all live by tillage, and in their outward ap- 
pearance seem but a few degrees superior to their savage neighbors; the Indians yet, when 
accosted, they immediately discover their national trait of politeness." 

Prairie du Rocher received another bad review in 1823, when it was described as. 

Its' (Prairie duRocher) situation is low and unhealthy, and during wet season is very 
disagreeable. The houses are generally built in the French style, and the inhabitants are, 
with few exceptions, poor and illiterate. The streets are very narrow and dirty. Here is a 
Roman Catholic chapel, which is its' only public building. In the vicinity, is an extensive 
common, which is attached to the village, and is under to controul six of the trustees. 
Prairie du Rocher in 1766 contained 14 families; at present, between 30 and 40 . . . Few 
Americans have as yet disturbed the repose of the ancient inhabitants of this place, nor 
is it probable they ever will, as it possesses no advantages, and is withal very unheal- 
thy. 

The constitution of 1818 in Illinois provided that no more slaves could be brought into 
the state, but that the old French settlers were allowed to retain their slaves. The village 
was incorporated in 1825, but the inhabitants saw no great need for the incorporation, and 
it was soon abandoned. This same process was repeated in 1835. The mosquitos were 
not late arrivals in Prairie du Rocher as evidenced by the reminiscences of J. F. Snyder, 
who visited the settlement in 1839, 

"I also have a lively recollection of the mosquitos there, Prairie du Rocher more num- 
erous, and more voracious than those of Kaskaskia. The Barbeaus Antoine our host and 
hostess, were unalloyed specimens of the non-progressive exotic Creole race that origi- 
nally settled in the American Bottom, dark-complexioned, black-haired, and black-eyed, 
slow-motioned, contented, sociable, and very kind and hospitable." 

Despite the mosquitos, Prairie du Rocher seems to have been infested with an indus- 
trious spirit about the middle of the 19th century. In 1840, William Henery, an American, 
built a steam mill to process the wheat grown in the area. This mill was constructed on 
the site of the present day, H. C. Cole Milling Company. 




Writing in 1859, E. J. Montague describes the inhabitants and the commercial aspects 
of the village as, 

-68- 



"The history of Prairie du Rocher presents no marked event. It was strictly a French 
village for more than a hundred years, and the orderly inhabitants quietly pursued their 
various vocations, enjoying their social amusements undisturbed. They were happy, con- 
tented people, unambitious, and careless of wealth or distinction. They were free from that 
strife, contention, and turmoil, which attends an uninterrupted stream of quiet joyous 
happiness. 

The place now contains one first class flouring mill; four dry goods stores; two gro- 
cery stores; two furniture stores; one saddlery shop; one boot and shoe shop; one wagon 
shop; one wagon manufactory; two carpenter and cabinet shops; two hotels; one church 
no resident priest. 

With the advent of the 20th century, Prairie du Rocher seems to have faded quickly 
from the history books. The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois published in 1907, went 
as far as to say that Prairie du Rocher had become extinct. However, as the village 
started its 181st year of existence, the great iron machine arrived in Prairie du Rocher in 
1903. A brick hotel sprang up near the depot, and many people predicted that Prairie du 
Rocher would now lose its' unique isolation and quickly succumb to the hustle and bustle 
of the modern world. Mail now arrived on the train, to such far away places as St. Louis, 
Missouri. The original railroad line seems to have been a part of the Iron Mountain Line. 
Today, the Missouri Pacific Line runs through Prairie du Rocher, servicing both mills, 
but the passenger service has been discontinued. 






A big celebration was held in 1939 of the Golden Jubilee, Fiftieth Anniversary of the 
Priesthood, of the Very Reverend William Van Delfth, pastor of St. Joseph's Church. Prair- 
ie du Rocher was either flooded or threatened by floods in 1943, 1944, 1946, and 1947. 
Construction of an extensive levee system was started in 1949. Since 1949, there has 
been no great threat of floods and many of the inhabitants remain skeptical of the ability 
of the levees to restrain the flood waters, if the occasion arises. 

In 1948, Doctor Couch left Prairie du Rocher, and the residents have searched in vain 
for a resident doctor since then. 



The old Creole house, was built about 1800. It is located directly across the street 
from the present day post office. An iron fence extending from the old Brickey house re- 
mains in front of the property. The Creole house was drawn and photographed by W.P.A. 
architects for historical reference. According to Thomas J. Conner, who was a local mer- 

-69- 



chant and historian for many years until his recent death, the Creole house was the birth- 
place of Henry Clay Hansbrough. who later was elected as a senator from North Dakota, 
and served his state in the U.S. Senate for 18 years. 

The old Kaskaskia Trail Hotel is now demolished. Until very recently, it was the home 
of Mr. Al Siedle. This house served as a stagecoach stop on the trail between Cahokia and 
Kaskaskia. This house was also believed to have been constructed in the early 1800's. 
The old slave quarters and an outside brick oven was torn down when Mr. Siedle produced 
the house in 1938. 

In 1956, Father Theodore C. Siekman was appointed pastor of St. Joseph's Church. He 
became very interested in the history of Prairie du Rocher and the church which serves it. 
The Illinois Historical Society visited the village in 1959. The society was welcomed by 
Mayor William M. Shea and then was treated to a dinner in the school basement. Father 
Siekman spoke to the society and explained some of the uniqueness of Prairie du Rocher. 
Painstaking arrangements were made in 1965 under the direction of Father Siekman for a 
Bi-Centennial Celebration of the parish to be held on May 25, 1965. He established the 
beginning of the parish as 1765 -- co-inciding with the abandonment of the old chapel of 
St. Anne within Fort Chartres. On May 25, 1965, a Solemn Pontifical Mass was celebrated 
at St. Joseph's Church, with the Bishop of the Diocese, the Most Reverend Albert R. 
Zuroweste, D.D., in attendance. Some of the^ old vessels and chalices, which had been 
brought from the chapel of St. Anne in 1765, were used in the Mass. The Mass was at- 
tended by the villagers dressed in Indian garbs, or in the old costumes of their ancestors. 
After the Mass, a candlelight proce5 sion was made to the old cemetery, which was the 
site of the original church and village of Prairie du Rocher. The procession included oxen, 
horses and buggies, the villagers and their friends. At the cemetery, the heritage of the 
site was recounted, and various old French songs were sung. A temporary museum had 
been set up in the school building, to which the inhabitants contributed the tools, let- 
ters, and momentos of their ancestors. The rich and varied history of Prairie du Rocher 
was revived on this day in an illuminating and wonderful manner. 

JAMES DUNCAN MUDD AND FAMILY 

The influential farmer, James Duncan Mudd of Prairie du Rocher, is a member of the 
oldest family of settlers in Randolph County. Indeed, his family has been in America 
since the very earliest days, having come over to Maryland in the time of Lord Baltimore. 
This band of stout-hearted Englishmen set out from their native shores in 1633 and sought 
religious freedom in the new world. They established the Church in North America and 
guaranteed religious liberty, where until then there had been only Puritan fanaticism. The 
Mudd family were original settlers of this colony. After the Revolution, when the tide of 
westward emigration set in, Thomas Mudd and his wife Johanna Carrick Mudd, proceeded 
to Kentucky, where they were among the earliest settlers. They settled in Spencer Coun- 
ty. This Thomas Mudd had seven sons and two daughters, the third son being Francis. 
Francis Mudd was born in 1795 in Maryland, emigrated to Kentucky with his parents, and 
there grew to manhood, with such slight educational advantages as the wilderness afford- 
ed. In the War of 1812 he volunteered, and served throughout the war. He was with Jackson 
at New Orleans when that great general with his regiments of stalwart pioneers won one 
erf the most brilliant victories that we ever achieved over the British. On his return he 
was married in 1819 to Louisa dough, and three years later emigrated to Randolph Coun- 
ty. Thus the family had been among the very first settlers of three states, Maryland, Ken- 
tucky and Illinois. Francis Mudd claimed a farm in Section 29, Township 5, Range 8, and 
lived here the peaceful and busy life of the pioneer farmer until his death in 1863. He has 
six sons and six daughters. 

One of these sons was James T. Mudd, the father of J. Duncan Mudd. He was born on 

-70- 



November 12, 1820, and was brought as a child to Randolph County. He was reared in his 
father's log house, a building without any glass in its construction, but as a good home 
as any pioneer could boast. He attended a subscription school, that being the only kind 
in the settlement. He lived with his parents until he was employed in "breaking the prair- 
ie" near the present site of Kidd, Monroe County. In the spring of 1844 he traveled on 
horseback to the lead mines in Wisconsin. His fortunes as a prospector were various, but 
he finally returned to Randolph County no richer than he had left it, excepting for the ex- 
perience, which must have been sufficiently valuable in itself. If he had done nothing else, 
he had proved that the adventurous spirit of the Mudd family was not dead in its latest 
representative. 

James T. Mudd was married on January 27, 1846, to Miss Emiline E. Owen. She was of 
Welsh descent and of a family that had early settled in South Carolina. Her mother was an 
Adams, and she was born on October 6, 1825. After his marriage Mr. Mudd rented a farm 
in southeastern part of Horse Prairie. In 1849 he sold one of his horses for fifty dollars 
and bought with this money forty acres of government land. This was located one-fourth 
mile north of Ames Post Office, Monroe County, and he built upon it a log hut of one room. 
InAugust, 1854, he sold this tract and purchased 120 acres in Prairie du Rocher Commons. 
He built a'home on lot 39, and lived there until his death, which occurred on July 29, 1897. 
His wife died on February 11, 1895. His children were; William L., Francis J., Henry F., 
George M., James D. and Veronica, of whom George and Henry died in youth, while Ver- 
onica died in 1899 at the age of thirty-two. The others are all married and prosperous. 

His son retains a vivid memory of the primitive agricultural devices of the pioneers. 
The grain was sown by hand, harvested with a cradle and threshed with a fail, or some- 
times trodden out by horses. It was tossed in the wind to remove the chaff. Even after all 
this laber there was almost no market for grain. Hogs were fattened, dressed and hauled to 
St. Louis or Kaskaskia, where they brought two cents a pound. The women were forced 
to cook at an open fireplace, and to spin and weave their clothing. In spite of these hard- 
ships, the elder Mudd was proprietor of 380 acres in '881. He gave 100 acres each to his 
sons,' William and Francis, and began to clear the forest anew. In 1897 he had 130 acres 
in cultivation. He was forced to go to Ruma to church, the French language being in use 
at Prairie du Rocher. He was a devoted Catholic and a careful father. 

James Duncan Mudd was born on January 13, 1862, and attended the district schools 
until his sixteenth year. He continued his studies at night and passed a teacher's exam- 
ination, teaching for one term at the age of twenty. Then he became a farmer, at first on 
rented land, together with the small remainder of his father's farm, and then exclusively 
on his father's land, when that had become larger. After his father's death he was able to 
buy the farm from the estate. At present he owns 440 acres and a residence with plumb- 
ing, bath, sewerage system and furnace--surely a model country home. He is the owner of 
an automobile and lives the life of a gentleman. He is very popular in all circles and has 
been on the school board for many years, as well as trustee of the Commons. He has been 
a stockholder and director of the Prairie du Rocher State Bank since its organization. He 
is the most prosperous man in his community. 

His marriage to Miss Agnes Vogt occurred on October 27, 1897. She was born in Cov- 
ington, Ky., on November 10, 1868, being the daughter of Clemens Vogt, and was for many 
years the housekeeper for the priest at Ruma. Their children are Justin J., Mildred M. and 
Dorothea D. Mudd. The family is very devoted to the Church. Mr. Mudd was in his youth 
an altar boy, then a member of the choir for fourteen years, and since that time has been a 
trustee for six years. Mrs. Mudd is a member of the Altar Society. Both are noted for their 
contributions to the Church. 

Mr. Mudd has all the characteristic energy and enterprise of his ancestors. He is a 
worthy member of a family which has helped to make the history of the nation. The rest- 

-71- 



less desire for adventure and activity of the Mudds is his predominant trait also, while he 
mited with his vigor a great share of prudence and business ability. He attributes his 
success to the fact that he has never had an idle moment or contracted a debt which he 
could not meet. While he was a grain farmer his cattle and poultry always paid running 
expenses, while the income from the grain was a clear profit. He is one of our most suc- 
cessful farmers and a man who is the backbone of his community. He has always had one 
ideal: to do his best and place his trust in the Most High, nor has he ever been disappoint- 
ed in his expectations. He is a model citizen and a good Christian. 






- -^ 








1 


^^K^ t i^^^^^^l 


1 



James T. Mudd 



Mrs. Jame'- T. Mudd 




Residence of James Duncan Mudd, Prairie du Rocher 
-72- 




James Duncan Mudd 



Children of 



Mrs. James Duncan Mudd 



Mr. and Mrs. James Duncan Mudd 

The Village of Prairie du Rocher was incorporated Aug. 19, 1837, at the first meeting, 
the following officers were elected: For President of the Board: Alexander Pitre, For 
trustees: Joseph Godaire, Jr., Michael Duclos, Jean Marie Gaudaire, Joseph Blais. For 
Clerk, William Henry. 

Since then, some of the Village Presidents who served are; 

1838 - Alexander Pitre 

1839 - William Drury - 1843 
1844 - Andre Barbeau 

1845-1870, due to the devastating floods of this period, the Organization of the Village 
was abandoned. It was re-organized in the year 1871, with Mr. F. W. Brickey being elected 

President. 

It seems during these years, the Village Board elected the president from among themselves. 

1872 - President - John Brewer 

1873 - P. W. Unger (appointed by Board) 

1874 - H. D. Hammack (appointed by Board) 

1875 - P. W. Unger 

1876 - F. W. Brickey 

1878 - Louis Chaudet 

1879 - F. W. Brickey - 1892 

1888 was the first year the President was elected by the people. 

1893 - Louis Chaudet 

1894 - Louis Chaudet 

1895 - A. L. Brands 

1896 - Louis Chaudet - 1903 

1903 - A. L. Brands 

1904 - H. P. Moreau 

1905 -P.J. Gillen 

1906 - George Reifel 

1907 - A. L. Brands 

1908 - Geo. Reifel 

1909 -C.J. Kribs 

1910 - Charles Hauck 

1911 - C. J. Kribs 

1912 — John Bachelier 

1913 - Geo. Reifel 

1914 - Chas. Hauck 

In subsequent years, records are rather sketchy and most of those who served as pres- 

-73- 



ident are listed but some may be omitted, due to loss of records. Many of those previous- 
ly mentioned served during later years also. 

W. H. Conner. Charles Modor, John T. Finley, Elmer Laurent, D. P. Schilling, Ralph 
Meniere. Arnold Steibel, S. J. Lolan, Arnold Mudd, Jr., WilliamShea, Gus Rako, were some 
of the people who served as Village President. As mentioned, some names might have 
been omitted due to loss of records. 

Over the years some major projects were undertaken and completed, such as the New 
Village water plant, for which the contract was let in the month of April 1940. This was 
undertaken with the help of Federal funds dispensed under the WPA. Since that the water 
plant has been enlarged and remodeled. In more recent years, the Sewer System was built 
with the help of a loan from the Farm Home Administration. And finally this year, 1972, a 
completely new water plant was built, housed in a new building, with the latest in water 
plant machinery. 



The present Village officials are: S. J. Lolan, President. Theodore W. Fadler, Clerk. 
Virgil Ray, John Laurent, Cletus Menard, Larry Durbin, Theodore P. Fadler, Clyde Brew- 
er are Trustees. The Village Treasurer is Donald Heizer. The Chief of Police, Robert 
Doiron, and Floyd Godier is Fire Chief. 



Present Town Board 




Town Board of 1908 
-74- 



All historical families and decendents are taken from the 1875 edition of the Histori- 
cal Atlas Map of Randolph County, Illinois. 

W. S. CONNER 

There are few citizens of American blood, native born in Randolph County, who date 
their birth back as far as does Mr. W. S. Conner, a resident of the southern part of Town- 
ship five -- eight. He was born within a quarter of a mile of his present residence, in the 
year of 1815. 

He was the son of Henry Conner, who was born in Maryland and moved to Kentucky 
when ten years old, about the year 1795. The Conner family is of Irish extraction. The 
name was formerly spelled "O'Connor," in which form it will be easily recognized as 
belonging to a numerous family in Ireland. Henry Conner was about twenty-two when he 
came to Illinois from Kentucky in the year 1807. He located at Kaskaskia then the central 
point and commercial emporium of the Illinois settlements,- and for three years worked for 
Colonel Pierre Menard. While here he married Miss Elizabeth Barnet, a native of Madison 
County, Kentucky. Henry Conner then moved to Monroe County, and settled on a farm in 
the American Bottom, at a point four miles south of what is now known as Chalfin Bridge. 
He continued farming here till about the year 1812, when a fire swept away his buildings, 
whereupon he returned to Randolph County, and settled on the farm now owned and occu- 
pied by William Phegley. Here on the twenty-first of October, 1815, William S. Conner was 
born the third of a family of seven children. Five of these, three sons and two daughters 
reached maturity. All are now deceased with the exception of Mr. Conner, who is there- 
for the sole representative of the family generation. 

Henry Conner was a man of prominence and influence in Randolph County, in his day. 
In 1814 he was elected Sheriff of the County, when the jurisdiction of that office extend- 
ed from the boundaries of St. Clair County to the mouth of the Ohio. He filled the office of 
Sheriff for seven successive years. He was United States Marshall for the district in which 
Randolph County was included, under the administration of John Quincy Adams. He filled 
several other offices, and during .his life-time took a leading part in public affairs. He 
was an active Whig in politics, and was popular with the members of that party. He died in 
March, 1832, at Kaskaskia, and his remains now repose in the old cemetery at that place. 

William S. Conner lived in the County till the death of his father. He then went to St. 
Louis to embark in business for himself, but after a stay there of only a few months he 
struck out for the Illinois river country, whose settlement had then but recently been be- 
gun. The localities which he traveled (in 1833) were new and uncultivated, among which 
were Peoria and Tazewell counties, new among the richest and most populous districts of 
Illinois. This section was his home for four years. The lead mines of the Galena region 
next offered themselves as a field of enterprise. Here Mr. Conner spent twenty-one years 
in mining lead, principally in south-west Wisconsin and Iowa. He acquired an intimate 
and practical knowledge of the processes of mining but met with varied vicissitudes of 
fortune. It was during his residence in Wisconsin that he married Nancy Stonier, a native 
of the State of Pennsylvania. 

In 1858 he returned to Randolph County, and settled within a quarter of a mile from the 
place of his birth, on land inherited from his father. Mr. and Mrs. Conner have had six 
children, of whom three are living, Harriet Louisa, Alice and Lucy. The oldest daughter, 
Harriet Louisa, was married to Charles Phegley, and now lives in Pettis County, Mis- 
souri. 



-75- 




Conner's General Merchandise Store, Prairie du Roc her 




Conner Lumber Company, Prairie du Rocher 

Prairie du Rocher Today 

(CONCLUSION) 

In summarizing or evaluating the history of Prairie du Rocher, one must note the im- 
pact that historical events and influences have made on present day, Prairie du Rocher. 
The community is today, as it was in the 1700' s, basically an agricultural community. 
The farmers no longer live in the village, but they remain the basic economic factor in 
the village. The farm lands which surround Prairie du Rocher, are among the most fer- 
tile and bountiful soils in the world. Those lands are selling for prices of $500.00 to 
$700.00 an acre, compared to the prices of $1.50 to $4.00 an acre in 1859. The limestone 
bluffs, from which the French obtained stone for the construction of Fort Chartres, today 
provide livelihood for many of the villagers. The cemetery in which the inhabitants bury 
their dead in 1972 is the same one in which their ancestors buried their loved ones as 
early as 1722. The rock bluffs and the wide Mississippi River isolate the community from 
the outside world today, as they did in the early years. The mosquitos remain as numerous 

-76- 



and voracious as they were in 1839; and the damp, wet, unbearable, and unhealthy con- 
ditions return during the wet months. The population today is approximately 750, a gain 
of only 250 since 1859, over a hundred years ago. The old, distinctly French names §uch 
as Barbeau, Bievenue, Langlois, Louviere, De Rousse, and Duclos, still appear on the 
village registers, but the influence of the French is not limited to the inheritance of 
names. Over 90% of the residents today, belong to the Roman Catholic Church. The Church 
remains the center of the community. The majority of the villagers today, are complacent, 
contented, unambitious, good-natured, and happy--traits directly traceable to their ances- 
tors. Most of the villagers remain to an amazing degree, as Montague described it, "free 
from that strife, contention, and turmoil, which attends the pursuit of wealth and political 
preferment." In order to observe this living historical heritage, one need only attend the 
annual church picnic, rendezvous, or witness the group of villagers dressed in 18th cen- 
tury costumes, on New Year's Eve, who move from house to house proclaiming the end of 
another year, in the old familiar words of the La-Gui-Annee. 



The Song of Prairie du Rocher 
(Le Chanson de Prairie du Rocher) 

les francois m'ont donne' mon mon. 

quand ils sont venus s'installer ici. 

ils ont tranvaille', ils ont danse' ils ont joue'- 

ils ont chante* des chansons gaies. 

ils sont alles a la messe tons les dimonches (1722—1765) 

et ont porte' leur croix avec patience. 

je suis un petit village tranquille et croche* 

mon mon est Prairie du Rocher. 

(The French gave me my name; 

when they came here to stay. 

They worked, they danced, they played; 

They sang happy songs. 

They went to Mass every Sunday, 

And bore their troubles with patience. 

A small village quiet and hidden away - 

My name is — Prairie du Rocher.) 

Then haughty British red coats came, 

Tried to fetter me in chains. 

So many from this tyranny did flee, 

When the Union Jack replaced the fleur de lis. (1765-1779) 

But a few staunch men chose to remain, 

And for posterity preserve my name. 

A small village quiet and hidden away - 

My name is — Piaiiie au Rocher. 

Next the restless yankee came, 

To play his little commercial game. 

Many a change he wrought o'er my face. 

Yet my natural beauty he could not erase. 

But my sons in their complacent ways. 

Accepted their fate, no resistance did raise. (1779— ) 

A small village quiet and hidden away - 

My name is Prairie du Rocher. 

-77- 



Time goes on in its own exacting way, 
Still the hopes for fulfillment remain today. 
Despite the neglect through the years gone by, 
Traces of my historic past refuse to die. 
And the church's lofty spire so pure and fine, 
Ever reminds my children of things Divine. 
A small village quiet and hidden away - 
My name is — Prairie du Rocher. 

Comment 

Prairie du Rocher, the oldest, continuing and cohesive (town-like) settlement on the 
"Great River Road" and in Illinois has a rich heritage. 

Certain dates are conflicting in sources due to terminology such as: erection, begin- 
ning, founded, claimed, terminated, ended, and completed. However, in 1959, Essayist 
Ernest E. East wrote to Father Theodore Sickmann, Pastor of the parish: 

"Several years ago, when at Peoria, I wrote a brief essay on the claims of cities or 
towns to the title of 'the oldest town in Illinois'. It was published as a Historical Note in 
the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. 

I gave the palm to Prairie du Rocher." 

So while the world moved on after the end of the French in the North West Territory, 
Prairie du Rocher, Fort de Chartres, and the old cemetery lives on, the last vestige of 
the French empire in A.merica. 



Le PETIT BUFFET 

(THE LITTLE CUPBOARD) 

Fine Foods - Steaks - Chicken - Seafoods 



(EVERYTHING YOU LIKE A RESTAURANT TO BE) 



PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS PHONE 284-3444 

-78- 



CONGRATULATIONS! 



TO HISTORIC 



PRAIRIE du ROCHER 



ON IT'S 



250th Anniversary 



The Village Trustees 




fm^ ^ 




(left to right) Theodore P. Fadler (Finance); Clyde Brewer; Cletus Menard (acting 
mayor); Theodore W. Fadler (Clerk); S.J. Lolan (past mayor); John Laurent (sys* 
tems); Virgil Ray; Larry Durbin. 



-79- 



Qlestem 
nQuto 

...the family store 
and imcATALOG 

p Ijll qWDER 



WESTERN AUTO ASSOCIATE STORE 

Home owned by ROY AND JOYCE WIRTH 



WIZARD APPLIANCES • DAVIS TIRES 
REVELATION SPORTING GOODS 

WESTERN FLYER BICYCLES • VITAPOWER OIL 
TRUETONE RADIOS AND TELEVISION 

MARKET STREET, PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS 62277 

PHONE 284-7700 

PRANGE DAIRY 

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS 62277 

Phone 282-2189 

GRADE A MILK 
PASTURIZED AND HOMOGENIZED, AT THE FARM 

CompI iments of 

SMITTS BI-RITE 

RED BUD, ILLINOIS 62278 

H. SCHRIEBER & SONS MERCHANTS 

125 WFST MARKET STREET - RED BUD, ILLINOIS 62278 

Phone 618-282-2811 

Our 100th \z(x^ 

-80- 



Compliments of 



FIRST 



NATIONAL BANK 



Chester, Illinois 



-81- 



St. Anne's Altar Sodality 



and 



St. Joseph's 
Holy Name Society 



ST. JOSEPH CHURCH 



Prairie du Rocher, Illinois 



-82- 



COWELL 
INSURANCE AGENCY 

INSURANCE - BONDS 




LOUIS E. COWELL 



DAY - Phone 282-3100 NIGHT - Phone 282-2100 

RED BUD, ILLINOIS 62278 116 SOUTH MAIN 



J^<i*tJtl/L ^3otAMfct ^euu& 



Red Bud 



KEIL 'REXALL' DRUGS 

LEONARD KEIL, R. PH. 

Phone 282-2870 Red Bud, niinois 62273 




"FLOWERS FOR EVERY OCCASION" 

FLOWERS BY HOFFMANN 

139 S. MAIN ST., RED BUD, ILLINOIS 62278 

Phone 282-2355 




esterny jto^^ om*ted 
jSjuto^ssociate store 



134 NORTH MAIN 
RED BUD, ILLINOIS 
PHONE 282-3232 



ELAINE'S BEAUTY BAR 

108 WEST MARKET, RED BUD, ILLINOIS 

Phone 282-2620 



BERGMANN EQUIPMENT 

USED CRAWLERS AND PARTS 

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS 62277 

JOHN 0. BERGMANN PhoHe 618-284-7285 



-84- 




Stand Tall 

Prairie du Rocher 

Congratulations 

on your 

250th Anniversary 



© NRECA 



EGYPTIAN ELECTRIC 

COOPERATIVE 

ASSOCIATION 



Steeleville 



Murphysboro 



Community Owned- 
Community Built-Community Builder 




-85- 



Compliments of 



VERNON C. DASHNER 



DASHNER FUNERAL HOMES 

Evansville Red Bud 

853-4434 282-3333 

Renault Prairie du Rocher 

458-7701 284-3300 



DASHNER GAS SERVICE 

CYLINDER AND BULK L.P. GAS 



DASHNER FURNITURE CO. 

APPLIANCES - FINE FURNITURE 

CARPET IN STOCK & SPECIAL ORDERS 

LINOLEUM 

Red Bud, Illinois 282-3333 

-86- 



SIEDLE AGENCY 

HAROLD MODGLIN - SALES REPRESENTATIVE 

Phone 284-3539 prairie du rocher, Illinois 



WHELAN BROTHERS 

ALLEN WHELAN — GERALD WHELAN 

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS 62277 

DOZING & CLEARING 



CARLAS' FRENCH FASHIONETTE 
BEAUTY SALON 

HOURS: 

Tuesday 10-4 ALL THE LATEST STYLES 

Thursday 1-4 Weddings and All Special Occassions 

l'l76o°9-3 PHONE 284-7276 OR 284-7241 



MFA INSURANCE 
COMPANIES 

LARRY T. DURBIN, Agent PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS 



LIMESTALL (GLENN) EXCAVATING 

CONCRETE SEPTIC TANKS & CISTERNS 

HALLMARK FIBERGLASS SWIMMING POOLS 

BLACKTOPPING, PARKING LOTS & DRIVEWAYS 

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILL. 62277 PHONE 284-7718 



THE EIGHTH GRADE CLASS OF 

Pratm lax &irt^r (Eatntmtmtg €otuuilt^at^b ^rifonl 

mSTRICT NO. 134 

pratrU hn SorlfFr. JUiniitB 

congratulates the town on it's 250th anniversary 




PRAIRIE DU ROCHER 
I9T2 GRADE 8 




SANDRA MENKE 
MARK DOIRON 
SUSAN DOIRON 
JAMES MODGLIN 
TAMMY McBRIDE 
DAVID TOCKSTEIN, 
LAURA BROWN 
GARY KREBEL 
GLENN PHEGLEY 
DIANE BIEVENUE 
RODNEY ALBERT 
ALICE NAEGER 
BART LAWRENCE 
KIM MENARD 



ROBERT BARBEAU 
DEBRA RUNGE 
JON! LOU DORN 
BRIAN DUCLOS 
SHERYL JUELFS 
JEFF STONE 
SHARON JUELFS 
BRIAN MUDD 
EVELYN FADLER 
LYNDEN PRANGE 
MR. ALBERT HENNRICH 
(superintendent & teacher) 



BRIAN HENNRICH 
TERRY PORTER 
not pictured — 

CAROL BRUEGGEMANN 
RICHARD BYRAM 
MICHAEL FRAZER 
RONALD MOLLET 
BARBARA POPPEN 
ROBERT RAINS 
TERRY SUMNER 
MARILYN WEBER 



HUESEMANN 
DISTRIBUTING CO. 

DISTRIBUTOR FOR ANHEUSER BUSCH IKC. PRODUCTS 

BUDWEISER MICHELOB 

BUSCH 

RED BUD, ILLINOIS 

COWELL 
CLOTHING 



116 S. MAIN - RED BUD, ILLINOIS 62278 



Phone 282-3100 



-89- 



Compliments of 



FIRST NATIONAL BANK 
OF RED BUD 



201 W. MARKET - RED BUD, ILLINOIS 62278 



Phone 282-2323 



Compliments of 



FIRST STATE BANK 



OF RED BUD 




ESTABLISHED 1875 



RED BUD, ILLINOIS 



-90- 



CONGRATULATIONS! 

To Historic Prairie du Rocher on It's 



250th Anniversary 

6th grade 

class org. 

' 1971-1972 




Class Motto: 



Teaching furnishes the mind only with materials of 
Knowledge; It is THINKING on our part that makes 
what we are taught ours ! 



RONALD DETERDING 
LINDA DINAN 
RICHARD KNIGHT 
ANITA NAEGER 
MICHAEL DONIUS 
DONNA RODENBERG 
STEVE RENNISON 
TERRY McBRIDE 
ANGELA REINHOLD 
GREGG FRAZER 
KIM RAY 
GARY JUELFS 
PAULINE ROY 
JOHN JOHNSON 



ROSE ANN REINHOLD 
RONALD SCHNEIDER 
RONALD MOLLET 
PEGGY FAUSZ 
ROGER HOOTEN 
BRENDA PORTER 
STEVE PRANGE 
BRENDA DONJON 
DAVID SCHALLER 
KRISTIN HENNRICH 
FRANKIE MELLIERE 
GEORGIA STONE 
DWAYNETOCKSTEIN 
MR. T. P. FADLER (TH) 



-91- 



MELLIERE'S ZEPHYR 

ZEPHYR GAS & OIL LUBRICATION, TIRES & BATTERIES 

Phone 284-3448 prairie du rocher, Illinois 

THE GIFT BOX 

(HOME OF ALL YOUR GIFT NEEDS) 

We Specialize In Hand Blown Glass, Carnival Glass, Wall Plaques 

Norcross Cards For All Occasions Antiques Old Bo«les Etc. 

CARLSON CRAFT WEDDING INVITATIONS & SUPPLIES 

JIM&OLLIE BERGMANN PHONE 284-3453 PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILL. 

ARNOLD J. MUDD 

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS 62277 

PHONE 284-6682 

DUCLOS REFRIGERATION 

Kelvenator Soles 

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS 

(BILL) WEIGARD 

Distributor of Sealtest Dairy Products 

RFD. 1, EVANSVILLE, ILLINOIS 62242 



-92- 



For Your Insurance Needs 

See or Call 

ROBERT NIERMANN 

NO. 2 COUNTRY AIRE -- RED BUD, ILL. 62278 

Phone 282-2635 

Your 
COUNTRY COMPANIES AGENT 

JOSEPH PARK POST NO. 622 
& AUXILIARY UNIT NO. 622 

Arnerican 
Legion 




For God and Country 

'MIXED DRINKS, BEER & DANCE SET-UPS' 
HALL & KITCHEN FACILITIES FOR RENT 

Phone 284-9509 

-93- 



ROOTS TAVERN 

'Fuzzy' & 'Peggy' 

ROOTS, ILLINOIS 



PRAIRIE THEATRE 

Lovern & Ernie Doiron 

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS 



PLEEZING FOOD STORE 

Wm. & Groce Kribs 

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS 



CONGRATULATIONS TO A GRAND OLD TOWN ON IT'S 250th ANNIVERSARY 

UNITED STATES POST OFFICE 

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS 62277 

Theodore (Ted) Fodler Postmaster 



BIELEFELD GARAGE 

PONTIAC SALES & SERVICE 

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS 



-94- 



'BUY AND SAVE THE CO-OP WAY* 

IN PRAIRIE DU ROCHER AREA 
FOR POWER AND FUEL, PAINT, TIRES, CHEMICALS 

CALL ARNOLD STEIBEL 284-3412 
CALL OUR PLANT 284-3443 

FOR FEED FERTILIZER GRAIN 

RANDOLPH SERVICE CO. 

TOUR DISTRIBUTOR 
GENERAL OFFICE SPARTA, ILLINOIS 



ALBERT H. SCHAEFER 
CONTRACTORS 



POLE BARN BUILDINGS AGRICULTURE BUILDINGS 



Phone 282-2270 



R. R. 1, RED BUD, ILLINOIS 



-95- 



ROBERTS STORE 



QUALITY EATS QUALITY MEATS 



THRIFT PLUS SATISFACTION 



Phone 284-6669 



PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS 



We thonk you for drinking our products 
FALSTAFF & PABST BLUE RIBBON BEER 

KAPES DISTRIBUTING CO 

INC. 

LESTER F. REICHMAN 

Enjoy Yourself Drink Falstaff & Pabst 

-96- 



IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE LATE 

SENATOR CHARLES J. KRIBS & 
REPRESENTATIVE A. A. BOOTS' BRANDS 

OF PRAIRIE DU ROCHER 

BY REPRESENTATIVE JAMES D. HOLLOWAY 



COMPLIMENTS OF 

THE PRAIRIE DU ROCHER & MODOC 
,,,, LADIES DEMOCRAT CLUB „,, 

ON THE 250th ANNIVERSARY OF PRAIRIE DU ROCHERS' FOUNDING. 




BILL WEBBER 

Q%UOOiai' PHONE: 357-2910 

GOr^DIVIAN and OII>SON CO. 

^psj't'-^ 110 SOUTH EAST STREET PINCKEYVILLE, ILLINOIS 62274 



KURLETTE BEAUTY SALON 

DELORESHEINEMANN, PROPERATOR. 
PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS PHONE 284-7103 



ARTEX Roll-On Decorator Paint 

ADD A COLORFUL NEW HOBBY TO YOUR LIFE WITH (ARTEX) 

Contact Esther L. Mesnorich 

PHONE 282-3379 R. 1 BOX 100 PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILL. 

(A GUARANTEED PRODUCT) *FUN FOR ALL AGES' 

-97- 



PRAIRIE DU ROCHER LUMBER CO. 

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILL. 62277 Phone 284-7778 

Dealer in 

Lumber, Plywood, Paneling, Plaster Board, Paints, 

Concrete Materials, Plumbing Supplies and Hardware 

SERVICE IS OUR 'MOTTO* 



CHARTRAND EQUIPMENT CO. 

USED CRAWLERS AND ALL FARM IMPLEMENTS 

Phone 282-2585 

(BILL & KATHY) RED, RED BUD, ILLINOIS 

CHARLIES BARBER SHOP 

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILLINOIS 

COME IN OR CALL 284-3430 FOR APPOINTMENT 

(APPOINTMENT NOT NECESSARY) 
TUES.-SAT. 8 A.M. TO 5 P.M. FRIDAY 8 to 9 P.M. 

FRIGIDAIRE MAYTAG ZENITH 

DURBIN ELECTRIC SHOP 

ELECTRICAL SUPPLIES-HARDWARE AND APPLIANCES 

GILBERT T. DURBIN PROP. 
Prairie du Rocher, Illinois Phone 284-3332 

A- OLD FRENCH HOSPITALITY & SERVICE AT ^ 

^ . % 



<^ 



Suzanne's Village Boutique 



v^ featuring Complete Wig Service ^ 

O Suzanne Fadler, Proprietor 284-7220 n 



-98- 



MENARD AUTO SALES, 

INC. 



At Ruma Y 



RED BUD, ILLINOIS 



COMPLIMENTS OF 



STOTZ QUARRY INC. 



Plant Phone 618-284-3330 



PRAIRIE du ROCHER, ILLINOIS 



-99- 



IT'S OUR BUSINESS 
TO SERVE YOU BETTER 



tP I ILLINOIS 
POWER COMPANY 

ACKERMANN RED BUD 

AGENCY, INC. REAl ESTATE AGENCY 

HOMES, FARMS, COMMERCIAL 
INSURANCE AND BONDS APPRAISALS 

PHONE: 618/282-2450 PHONE: 618/282-2415 

ZIEBOLD BUILDING 

101 South Main Street, Red Bud, Illinois 62278 



JOHNSON COUNTY 
ASPHALT 

TELEPHONE 282^2070 

RT. 1 RED BUD, ILLINOIS 62278 

STATE FARM INSURANCE COMPANIES 

(Cover It With Mudd) 



ELMER MUDD, AGENT 



STATt FARM 



Phone 282-2222 

1 Mile So. of Red Bud on Hwy. 3 Red Bud, Illinois 62278 



Compliments Of 

KOCH-LIEFER INC. 

135 S. MAIN ST., RED BUD, ILLINOIS 62278 

Phone 282-2325 

EVERYTHING IN FURNITURE AND FLOOR COVERING LINE. 



100- 



MILLER'S MEAT MARKET 

LESLIE AND WAYNE MILLER, PROPS. 

Home Killed Pdrkand Beef - Dld Fashioned Home Made Sausages 

Custom Killing and Cutting for Freezer 

PORK AND Beef Sold By The Quarter, Half or Whole 

Phone 2B2-3334 

43D NORTH MADISDN STREET RED BUD, ILLINOIS 

REABAN'S DRIVE INN 

RED BUD, ILLINOIS 

Phone 282-2683 

TACO CHICKEN PIZZA 

COUNTRY SIDE 

1200 S. Main, Red Bud, Illinois 
(ELMER & ALVINA WAGNER) 

Open 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. SMORGASBORD EVERY DAY 

Country Hom-Steaks-Chicken-Seafoods-Pizza-Carry Outs 
Cocktail Lounge 

TOM'S TAVERN 

BEERGARDEN 

HUNTING & FISHING LICENSE COOL BEER TO GO 

COUNTRY MUSIC WEEKENDS 

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, ILL. 

Compliments Of 

RED BUD OIL CO. C^^ 

DIST. OF TEXACO AND FIRESTONE PRODUCTS SINCE 1930 

PHONE 282-2211 

-101- 



Compliments Of 

THE CHESTER PAINT & FABRIC STORE 

The complete paint and fabric store. 

loosTACEYST. PHONE 826-2612 Chester, Illinois 



BOB & JOHN ^^°"^ 883-7857 



OBERLE'S 



RESTAURANT - LOUNGE 

OBERLIE SAUSAGE 

HIGHWAY 61 STE. GENEVIEVE, MO. 63670 



Compliments Of 

RAY'S SHOE STORE 

Evansvi lie, II linois 
Shoes for the whole family. 

BARLEY OLDS-PONTIAC INC. 

Open Saturday afternoons 
AMERICAN MOTORS K. 0. BARLEY, Owner 

IH TRUCK, SCOUTS, TRAVELALLS KEN. BARLEY, Manager 

SINCE 1945 p,^^^^ 314-883-3567 

STE. GENEVIEVE, MO. C.A. Rapp & Wayne Greminger 

Salesmen 



Congratulations to the oldest town in Illinois on it's 250th Birthday. 

ROCHER P. T. A. 

A group of parents who take an active interest in the 
education of their children. 



-102- 



W. H. CONNOR & CO. 



SERVING PRAIRIE du ROCHER FOR 133 



OF IT'S HISTORIC 250 YEARS 



■103- 



^^a/W€€^ 



OF FASHIONS 




SOMETHING SPECIAL IN FASHIONS 

• MISSES • JUNIOR • PETITES 

• BLEEKER STREET • BOOTH BAY 

• PADDLE & SADDLE • H-l-S 

• VICKY VAUGHN • TONI TODD 




Girls Dresses By 
Polly Flinders 

• Infants 

• Boys & Girls 

• Sportswear 

• Jewelry 

• Hosiery 



Dial 



282-3660 



RED BUD 



ON THE SQUARE .... RED BUD 







Providing modern communications service 



to the residents of this area . 






i ^«^"-"»>- 



tKV 



— iw— wwwwiwmwww